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An Analysis of Bhoodan-Gramdan Movement in India 



Centre for the Study of Social Systems 
(School of Social Sciences) 
Jawaliarlal Nehru University 
New Delhi 


First Edition : June 1972 



This book is dedicated to my 

FC. M. Koshy 

Saramma Koshy 

whose sacrifices made my education possible. 


This book grew out of my Ph.D. dissertation. When I embarked upon 
my doctoral thesis in early ‘sixties I was nowhere near a focussed topic 
of research. The area of my interest was broadly titled as ‘Sociology of 
Non-violence’. While I was keen to undertake empirical research with 
the hope of contributing to theoretical knowledge it was not easy to for- 
mulate a problem which suited my purpose. In my eagerness to pursue 
empirical social research I thought of working on ‘Sociology of Gramdan 
Villages’. Soon it became clear to me that I cannot meaningfully pursue 
the study without a macro-sociological orientation of the problem, that 
is. an understanding of the overall character of the Bhoodan-Granidan 
movement. Finally. I settled to work on ‘Ideology and Social Change' 
with the hope that it provides sufficient scope to link empirical research 
with theory. My initial investigations unfolded that the ideological appeal 
is not uppermost in an ideal-typical charismatic movement. Further, 
it became clear to me that charisma can be as much a system-conserving 
force as it is a system-changing force. And, hence the title. Charisma. 
Stability and Change. 

The prime areas of concern among Indian Sociologists until recently 
were caste, family and village community studies. To embark upon an 
unconventional area of research, particularly at the initial stages of one's 
career, is often to face professional scepticism, if not hostility. In early 
'sixties when I started the present study its theme was certainly not a pet 
area of research among Indian Sociologists and yet I have chosen it cons- 
ciously and deliberately. I consider the present work as belonging to three 
broad areas, namely, social movements, utopian communities and 
sociology of charisma. Theoretical issues and empirical data having a 
bearing on these areas may be frequently found together at several points 
of discussion in this study. The point I am making is this: the task 
undertaken is complicated and the theme, complex. 

The present study, being an analysis of an on-going social movement, 
is risk-prone in another way. The persons who lead and participate in the 
movement are alive and any interpretation of the nature and content of 
the movement is not final as the very subject matter of analysis is under- 
going changes: its meaning is being re-interpreted. However, precisely 
because of this reason, the present study can be stimulating and profitable 
both to social scientists and to those who are participants in the movement 


m that »t ma> unfold the significance of methodological orientations and 
v»lue-commitments in perceiving and conceptualizing social realities 

This studj is unconventional jet from another perspective Although 
Professor Rh Merton decried the tendency among Sociologists the world 
over to view empirical investigations and theoretical research as polar 
opposites rarely one comes across an attempt to link theoretical proposi 
lions and empirical data Even at the risk of being labelled as arrogant 
I claim that my intention is to make a modest theoretical contribution 
through an empirical study I am compelled to make this point forcefully 
because some of my professional peers felt that mj task is achieved if I 
simply make a detailed and faithful report of the functioning of the move 
ment and there is no need to indulge in the theoretical issues I deal with 
However I have a different viewpoint on this question and I hope others 
will tolerate mj extravagance in this context 

This brings me to another but related problem that is the issue of 
using technical language in Sociology While there is nothing virtuous 
m the employment of technical language a minimum of it is inevitable 
to ensure brevity and precision in scientific writings An immediate consc 
qtience of using technical terms of anj type is that some lay readers shj 
awaj from the book But then each author has a clientele in mind when 
he writes As for the present book the non scientist reader may find it 
little difficult to read through the first chapter and if he is not interested 
in gaining a theoretical understanding of the problem he is advised to 
skip it 

The debate relating to quantitative versus qualitative techniques of 
data collection and analysis is not jet a settled one in social science I 
vtronglj believe that one approach or method is not necessarily superior 
to another and each of these methods are appropriate for specific purposes 
The data for the present study was collected through observing the bcha 
viour of and eliciting verbal responses from the respondents In addition 
relevant records have been extensively used Thus ours is a combined 
approach to data collection and analjsis 

The studj was initiated with the intention of evaluating the change 
effected through the Bhoodan Gramdan movement As is well known 
any studj of change is methodologically sound only if it is attempted either 
in a time perspective or in a spacc-pcrspectivc While in the former case 
the same working universe is subjected to an analjsis through time 
the latter approach calls for the study of two universes at a given point 
of time with the provision of the presence of an additional variable, in 
one of the universes which is assumed to have caused the change Since 
the Bhoodan Gramdan movement was in existence barely for a decade 
when this study was initiated it was fruitless to attempt an analysis of 



Gramdan villages in a lime-perspective. Naturally, I decided to study two 
sets of villages, Gramdan (experimental) and non-Gramdan (control), in 
order to understand the changes that have taken place due to Gramdan 

The sustenance of my interest in Sociology is largely due to Professor 
Y.B. Danilc from whom I took the first lessons in the subject. I was lucky 
enough to secure his able guidance for my Ph.D. thesis. But for his keen 
interest in my work and kind disposition towards me, my attempt to com- 
plete the dissertation would have remained abortive. 

The manuscript of this book was prepared while I was a faculty member 
of the Delhi School of Social Work. Principal S.N. Ranadc was particularly 
considerate to me in facilitating my work in several ways. My colleagues 
at the School, Dr. K.D. Gangrade and Mr. S.H. Pathak encouraged me 
on many occasions. Mr. B.S. Kumedan, the librarian of the School, helped 
me throughout my stay at the School which expedited the process of com- 
position, immensely. I thank them all for their help and co-operation. 

Soon after securing the Ph.D. degree I sought the opinion of several of 
my friends on the manuscript with the intention of revising it for publi- 
cation. Of the several scholars who commented I am especially indebted 
to Professor S.N. Eisenstadt, Drs. Andre Betcille. M.C. Sekhar and 
K.G. Krishnamurthy. 

At one stage I gave up the idea of publishing this book for a variety 
of reasons, both personal and academic. I am grateful to Professors A.R. 
Desai, M.S. Gore. I.P. Desai and Yogendra Singh for the continued en- 
couragement they gave to publish this book. 

Mr. Ram Sagar Singh helped me in proof-reading and in the prepara- 
tion of the author index. I thank him for his help and co-operation. 

The publication of this book is facilitated by the Indian Council of 
Social Science Research through its grant-in-aid programme. I am thankful 
to Shri J.P. Naik, the Member-Secretary of the ICSSR for his quick actions 
and immediate decisions relating to the grant. 

The successful completion of a research project is largely dependent 
on the co-operation of the people from whom information of various 
types is sought. I record here my deep sense of gratitude to the villagers 
with whom I spent fourteen enjoyable months and from whom I collected 
most of the data for this book. The constructive workers associated with 
the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement helped me in several ways which 
rendered my research venture smoother and easy-going. I thank them 
all for their kindness and co-operation. 

It is conventional and sometime ritualistic to thank the persons involved 



in one’s intimate famil) arclts when one completes the list of acknowledge, 
ment. I do so for neither of the above excuses. Although this study was 
a prc-mantal venture, before it was completed, I was married. Looking 
back, I feel guilt) of being cruel to m> wife, Josephine, who was subjected 
to a lot of incomcniencc due to my passion for completing the dissertation 
within a deadline She helped me in numerous wajs and occasions, includ- 
ing the proof-reading of the manuscript To record my appreciation for 
her patience is the minimum I thought I should do Finally, I am grateful 
to my brother Mr TK Mathew, who helped me financially and 
encouraged me morally to continue and complete my studies. 

AVir Delhi T.K. Oommdj 

December 1971 Jawaharlal Nehru University 





The Theme : A Theoretical Perspective 



The Bhoodan-Gramdan Movement : An 



The Study Design 



Communication and Motivation : Pre- 
requisites of Change 



Economic Changes in Gramdan Villages 

... 70-101 


Government and Politics in Gramdan 

... 102-134 


The Nature of Local Leadership 

... 135-152: 


Value Orientations : Possibilities of A 
Nonviolent Social Order 

... 153-176 


Charismatic Movements and Social 

...' 177-183 

Author Index 

... 185-186 

List of Tables 





Statewise Distribution of Gramdans, Pra 
khand dans and Zifa-dans as on 20-1-1969 



Size of Gramdan Villages in Rajasthan 



Types of Gramdan Villages 



A Comparative Study of Experimental and 
Control Villages 



Gramdan Villages — All India Position in 1961 



Gramdan Villages in Rajasthan (1964) 



Complaints Received Objecting to Gramdan 
(Four Tchsils) 



Concentration of Land in Experimental and 
Control Villages A Comparative Study 



Caste wise Distribution of Land in Sukpura 
after Gramdan 



Caste wise Distribution of Land in Tdanpura 
(Pre Gramdan) 



Caste wise Gain/Loss of Land in Idanpura due 
to Gramdan 



Location of Land Owned by Gramdan Villages 



Caste-wise Distribution of Membership and 
Shares in Idanpura Co operative Society 



Caste-wise Distribution of Membership and 
Shares in the Co operative Society of Sukpura 



Caste-wise Distribution of Power Personnel in 



Caste-wise Distribution of Power Personnel in 






Clan-wise Distribution of Power Personnel in 

... 118 


Types of Meetings and Participation in Deci- 
sion-making in Gramdan Villages 

... 119 


The Power Pool and the Decision-making 
Group in Gramdan Villages 

... 120 


Opinion of Household Heads about the Work- 
ing of Gram Sablia 

... 124 


Qualities of Leadership : Ideal and Actual 

... 146 


The Gap between Image and Reality of 
Leadership in Gramdan Villages 

... MS 


The Gap between Image and Reality of Leader- 
ship in Control Villages 

... 149 


Clean Caste’s Attitude to Uniouchability 

... 156 


Differences in Response to Ritually Polluting 
and Secular-Status Affecting Behaviour 

... 158 


Value-orientation to Caste System 

... 162 


Values Relating to Social Stratification 

... 163 


Values Regarding Equality 

... 164 


Value-orientation to Properly Ownership 

... 165 


Orientation to the Values of Sarvodaya 

... 166 


Value-orientation to Industrialisation 

... 169 


Value-orientation to Means — End Schema and 

... 169 


Conceptions Regarding Human Nature 

... 171 


The Theme : A Theoretical Perspective 

The theoretical purpose of this book is, broadly speaking, to examine the 
role of charisma in society : as a system stabilizing or changing force. Since, 
traditionally, charisma is understood to be a system changing force, the 
function of charisma as a system conserving force needs to be expounded. 
The task at hand is undertaken through an empirical investigation of a 
social movement which we characterize as a charismatic movement. 

Since the concept of charisma is crucial in our analysis, it is but logical 
that we start with a clarification of the concept so as to underline the sense 
in which we employ it. In this process we also endeavour to extend and 
amend the Weberian notion of charisma so as its relevance is magnified 
and the range of its application increased. 

The second crucial concept, from the point of view of our study, that 
calls for elaboration is social movement. Since the concept of social 
movement is one of the least discussed and hence one of the most confused 
in social science literature, wc need to define and specify the characteristics 
of social movements. 

The notion of a charismatic movement is relatively novel. Though, 
Weber did discuss at length the concept of charisma, he did not elaborate 
on its possible applications to various social phenomena. At any rate, 
a full-length analysis of a charismatic movement is yet to be undertaken 
by social scientists. This makes it incumbent on us to consider in detail 
the characteristics of charismatic movements and their similarities and/or 
differences with other social movements. 

The present Chapter addresses itself to the above mentioned tasks, 
apart from putting forward the argument that we subject to an empirical 
examination in the present work. 

The Concept of Charisma 

Notwithstanding the wide currency of the concept of Charisma 1 in 
contemporary social science considerable controversy and confusion 
obtains in regard to its analytical validity and employment. Wolpe-, 
for instance, go to the extent of suggesting that, “the concept of charisma 
is not analytically useful”; others^ insist that the concept should be used 


only m the Weberian sense, still others 4 advocate its emancipation from 
the ecclesiastical context so that it may be made suitable to be employed 
m the modern secular context 

Though Wolpe 5 is eager to reject the notion of charisma, his position 
is much le*s radical, and is essentially the same as that of others 6 This 
is echoed when Wolpe writes “What I am calling into question is the 
validity of any analysis which assumes that personal qualities or powers 
or beliefs about these, can, on their own, and in isolation from other 
structural factors, explain the authority or power structure in a society 
or account for the source and genesis of an individuals’ power position ’’ 
The essence of the argument, put forward by Wolpe, then, is that the 
character of charisma is related to the properties of social structure, the 
former cannot be viewed as independent of the latter I will try to show 
that charisma is ultimately a product of social structure and hence its 
nature and content will undergo a transformation as the society itself 
changes, as the context of its operation vanes 
Max Weber had employed the concept of charisma in the context of 
a typology of authority he developed and used it as an attnbute of a per- 
sonality To Weber chansmatics are creative individuals who emerge 
from ensis situations and the ideas they propound and propose, play an 
important role in the transformation of societies These individuals may 
be philosophers, religious leaders, prophets or social reformers 
Chansma represents a sudden eruption of novel forces from situations 
of crisis often with new ideas Chansmatic “authority” is antithetical 
to the rational-legal and traditional types of authority Chansma is not 
only non institutional but anti-institutional too and the chansmatic 
office emerges only in the process of routimzation of charisma Chans 
matic relations are devoid of any systematic division of labour, specializa- 
tion or stability The onentation of the chansmatic leader is non-profes- 
sional and hence economic activities can only be fortuitous 
One major difficulty m operating with the concept of chansma, stems 
from the fact that Weber located chansmatic leadership within the cate- 
gory of “legitimate authority'', along mth other types of authority tradi- 
tional and rational-legal Weber distinguished between power and autho- 
rity by noting that the latter is “legitimate power”, in the sense, certain 
sanctions are attached to its enforcements Implied in this concept of 
authority is some amount of coercion or threat which is “legitimate” 
Weber was wrong m attributing “authonty” to a chansmatic leader, 
because “legitimacy” and “sanctions” are attached to the office the 
leader occupies, and a pure charismatic leader not only operates m a 
non institutional context, but he rebels against the prevalent institutional 
complex, he is “anti-institutional” This being so, an ideal-typical chans 



matic leader, docs not have any “authority”; lie has power in that he is 
capable of influencing the behaviour of his followers. If a group of persons 
question his “power” or “disobey” him, he cannot “punish” them through 
the mechanism, of law as a rational-legal leader docs or through the sanc- 
tions of custom and convention as a traditional leader can. In fact, the 
relationship between a charismatic leader and his followers is such 
that the moment they question his leadership lie. suffers a partial loss of 
charisma; voluntary obedience by the followers is that which sustains his 

We must remember here that much of the confusion in this context 
emanates from the fact that heads of several governments, particularly 
in under-developed countries, arc also charismatic personalities. If a Nehru 
or Nkrumah had “authority” it was not because they were charismatic 
leaders, but because they were occupying the top position in the politico- 
legal hierarchy. However, this is not to deny the existence of charismatic 
qualities in them. Indeed it is true, that their charismatic qualities and 
power facilitated their assuming and exercising rational-legal authority. 
In short, what I am suggesting is this: Weber was wrong in referring 
to the power of charismatic leader as “authority”. If we are to employ 
meaningfully the distinction between authority and power, we can only 
speak of charismatic power or charismatic influence and not charismatic 

This brings us to the distinction between the three types of leadership — 
traditional, rational-legal and charismatic. The first two types of leader- 
ship are based on the leaders’ accession to ‘office’ in accordance with 
the prescribed norms in each of these contexts (The term ‘office’ is used 
here to include hereditary positions). But a pure charismatic leader has 
not the sanction or authority of an office. It may be that a charismatic 
leader may be ‘elected’ to ‘office’. But when this is done, he ceases to be 
only a charismatic leader, he also assumes authority cither in rational- 
legal or in traditional terms. Charismatic qualities help the leader under 
question to acquire authority; charisma is a resource to secure authority, 
but charisma perse docs not give him authority. 

In the Weberian typology charismatic “authority” is exercised by a 
prophet, hero or demagogue by virtue of his magical powers, revelations, 
heroism, exemplary conduct or other moral qualities and charismatic 
leaders spring mainly from ecclesiastical institutions. Several writers 
vehemently criticize the present trend of dumping Hitler and Christ, 
Mussolini and Moses together . 7 A strong plea to distinguish the leadership 
based on a genuine sense of divine calling from inspirational leadership 
has been made. The lumping together of demagogues, leaders of totali- 
tarian movements and founders of religions is misleading, argues Friedrich. 


While totalitarian leaden concern themselves with power, religious leaders 
rarely do so Therefore, there is a significant difference between different 
kinds of inspirational leadership and charismatic leadership 8 Schlesinger 
puts it very forcefully “chansma for him (Weber) is a specific feature of 
the world of myth and sorcery charisma, in short is prophetic 
mystical, unstable, irrational and by Weber’s definition incapable of 
dealing with the realities of industrial society”? 

Weber frequently reminds his readers that his typology is conceived 
as ‘ideal types’ and hence conceptual abstractions and not empirical 
realities In fact, he goes so far as to say that none of these types of autho 
rity is pure and in the empirical situation they exist as mixed categories 10 
That is to say, there is no purely rational, traditional or charismatic “au 
thonty’ while it is possible to label a given authority system as predomi 
nantfy rational traditional or charismatic This is a point that several 
of his critics forget However, with all fairness to Weber one can argue 
that his classification suffers from Us tendency to isolate charismatic 
“authority” from the traditional and rational legal types and its mam 
drawback is in its failure to recognize explicitly that the charismatic 
element is present in the other two types of authority systems with 
vaiying intensity Recently Shils't viewed the charismatic phenomenon 
in a more comprehensive perspective He examines the mechanisms of 
the charismatic phenomenon in secularized societies and in the non 
ecclesiastical institutions which are conventionally viewed as entirely free 
of the charismatic element, except for the occasional disruptive tendencies 
or transforming intrusion of the charismatic personalities It is sufficient 
for the present purpose to keep in mind that “chansma ” although 
analytically separable, is present in other types of authority 
Moreover the logical consequence of accepting the argument that 
chansma is confined to ecclesiastical institutions is that with the ever 
increasing processes of industrialization, urbanization and bureaucratiza 
tion the chansmatics as a category will disappear *2 it js very useful to 
keep in mind what Shils asserts here “The attachment to the Sacred 
cannot be evaded in any society All societies regard as sacred certain 
standards of judgement, certain rules of conduct and thought, and certain 
arrangements of action ”13 The values of truth, of individuality and even 
of professional achievement can be infused of sacredness of chansma in 
varying degrees This is obviously an extension of Weber’s concept of 
chansma to secular contexts In the present study we recognize the use 
fulness of this extended version of chansma 
We have noted above that chansma and charismatic leadership do 
exist in modem secular context However, the personalities labelled as 
chansmatics m the secular context can hardly be categonzed into one 



group. Hitler, Nassar, Nkrumah, Kennedy. Krushchev, Nehru. Gandhi, 
Vinoba, to mention a few are all called charismatic leaders. It is impor- 
tant to note here that with the exception of Gandhi and Vinoba all others 
arc occupants of top governmental offices in their respective countries. 
This means all others except the latter two had authority, due to their 
offices. We don't suggest for a moment that the other leaders do not possess 
charismatic qualities. But we are not in a position to establish the pro- 
portion of influence these leaders derived from their charismatic power 
and rational-legal authority respectively. Also, their occupying top rational- 
legal positions may have helped displaying or emphasizing their charis- 
matic qualities (through press and propaganda) and/or the people have 
attributed charisma to them for they are at the peak of the bureaucratic 

Charisma , Social Structure and Social Change 

The quantity and quality of charismatics differ from system to system 
depending upon the social forces at work. Tlius in crisis facing New Na- 
tions the emergence of charismatic leaders is more as compared to the 
industrialized and relatively stable West. Again most of the charismatics 
of New Nations arc those who wage a persistant war on poverty and those 
who arc wedded to the values of modernization, whereas the charismatics 
of industrial West arc generally speaking, prophets of peace. The point 
1 am emphasizing is that we cannot think in terms of the phenomenon of 
charisma and charismatic leadership divorced of the nature and type of 
the social system. 

The changes in social structure is capable of changing the character 
of charismatics. Weber noted: “The term “Charisma” will be applied to 
a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is 
set apart from ordinary’ man and treated as endowed with supernatural, 
superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. 14 
In the primitive and traditional systems the shaman, the magician even 
the physician and the men with legal wisdom was looked upon as a charis- 
matic not to speak of a war hero. Today with the decline of importance 
of magic and religion and with the increase of technical knowledge and 
the quest for peace as against war steadily gaining ground, the type 
of the personalities who came to be called charismatics too changed. 
This is the reason why we should think in terms of charismatics in secular 
or non-ccclesiastical contexts also. 

The same society at different times, may be impressed by different ap- 
peals. When India was a British colony freedom was the one most important 
appeal. When she secured independence, economic development became 
the avowed objective. It is important to note here that the charismatic 


who is functional in one situation may be dysfunctional in another Gandhi 
was the greatest freedom fighter but many did not think that he was the 
right man to take the country to the portals of economic plenty as his 
programmes and philosophy were well known Inevitably he was replaced 
by Nehru whose commitment to the values of modernization was more 
in tune with the spirit of the contemporary era. 

To conclude, the war hero may don the mantle of charisma if a so- 
ciety is perpetually threatened by foreign invaders A man who is wedded 
to economic plenty will assume the stature of a charismatic hero in a 
poverty ridden society An honest man may achieve recognition as a 
charismatic m a society where corruption is rampant The pomt 1 want 
to make is this the attributes of charisma are not gi\en for e\cr, they are 
contextual That is to say, chansma is ultimately a product of social 
structure and therefore it undergoes a qualitative transformation con 
comitant to the changes in the nature of society 

Analysis of charisma is crucial to Weber’s explanations of social change 
Within the framework of German histoncism Weber had offered a theory 
of change— as a senes of adaptations of social system to large scale 
changes initiated by chansmatic personalities In other types of authority 
systems stability dominates or persists and permits change only at th» 
micro level Weber has sought to explain the problem of change at the 
macro-level through the concept of ebansma which Bendix designates 
as a Sociology of innovation 15 The chansmatics are innovators and crea 
tors, who cause large scale changes^ and whom Weber distinguishes from 

Shils 17 had argued that chansma not only disrupts social order but 
also maintains and conserves it Eisenstadt 18 extends this idea further by 
arguing that chansma should not be viewed as the polar opposite of rou 
tine, that it can be profitably employed for the process of institution- 
building, thereby effecting stability in the system Endorsing this argument, 
we would like to emphasize further that chansma is unlikely to be effects e 
as a force of change for a long term period- Once the social situation is 
normalized and the task of the moment becomes socio-economic dev elop- 
ment, chansmatic leaders are likely to be ineffective Dow 19 vnidly illus- 
trates this, while analyzing the role of chansma in modern African develop- 
ment Most Afncan independence movements had a chansmatic element 
and those w ho led them were chansmatic leaders How ev er, after the arrival 
of freedoip, the Promised Land was nowhere m the horizon As the leaders 
started to struggle with the day to-day problems of the State and those 
of economic development their chansma eroded. To quote Dow, “In 
terms of Webenan thesis this would be merely one manifestation of Weber’s 
claim that chansma cannot endure within an institutional setting, not 


because the leader cannot satisfy routine expectations, but rather because 
he cannot continue to provide the transcendent mission or accomplish- 
ments which formerly constituted the charismatic basis of his leadership. 
Because he is forced to attend primarily to routine affairs, the leader's 
stature will be diminished in the eyes of his followers. Particularly, his 
preoccupation with economic considerations will prove to be irreconcil- 
able with any continued charismatic pretentions The day-to-day 

impact of economic routine must then be balanced against the transcen- 
dent economic goals. When the same figure is in effect accountable for 
both, he will be unable to segregate the inevitable frustrations and dis- 
appointments of the market place from the transcendent programme of 
economic development. The maintenance of charisma under these circum- 
stances is impossible .” 20 

The rational-legal leaders who act as agents of transition are said to 
be valued much by the mass-public and arc called charismatics. The 
obsession here is to think in the Weberian vein. The rational-legal 
leaders can be prophets of modernization and change, operating through 
the governmental machinery, unlike Weber thought. Conversely, a 
charismatic leader need not be an agent of change. That is to say. a 
charismatic can be a system-regenerator, revivalist, reinforcer or breaker. 

Kahin 21 and others argue that the crisis created through the break 
from the traditional past creates attitudes that arc strongly inclined 
towards the acceptance of charismatic leaders. The withering away of 
strong traditional bonds creates a sense of vacuum which arc presumably 
filled by charismatic leaders. Ratnam 22 points out that respect for tradi- 
tional authority does not wither away in a vacuum and the charismatic 
leaders are the very' agents who make the people recalcitrant of traditional 
leaders. What is significant for the present purpose is to take note of 
the prevalent mistaken notion that charismatic leaders are those who 
challenged tradition, eager to modernize their societies and arc great 
agents of change. 

In the ultimate analysis, we can distinguish two types of charismatics: 
system-breakers and system maintainors. What makes a leader charis- 
matic is not only the end to which he addresses himself but also the means 
he employs to carry out his programme of action. To illustrate, in the case 
of personalities like Nehru. Kennedy, etc., the end they hope to attain 
is so much appealing and super imposing that the people readily vouch 
their loyalty to them. In the case of Gandhi and Vinoba the means they 
have chosen to attain their ends have played a decisive role in rendering 
them charismatics. 

Innumerable colonics have secured independence from their erstwhile 
colonial masters but none did use Satyagraha and non-violence as wca- 


pons to fight for freedom as Gandht did Agrarian reforms and institu- 
tional innovations are attempted through the mechanism of law all through 
history but none relied on voluntary action to bring about all sweeping 
changes in the structure of society It is the uniqueness of means employed 
by Gandhi and Vinoba which render them charismatics, for their ultimate 
aim is to establish a type of social order which does not appear to be appeal- 
ing to the large majonty of the people The point I want to make is that 
charismatic leadership may not always lead to large scale changes of the 
system but may well stabilize it or may attempt to stabilize it What role 
ultimately the charismatic leaders play depends upon a number of factors 
including the end they hope to achieve, their position in the formal autho- 
rity system, the means they employ, the nature of the social system in 
which they operate, etc 

Charisma Spread and Dispersion 

The prevalent tendency among social scientists is to assume that charis- 
matic leaders are and/or should be accepted by the entire population 
This is implied when Wolpe writes referring to Nkrumah and Castro 
“Now it is clear that, at no stage, did the entire population hold charismatic 
beliefs about either of these leaders ” 2J (italics mine) It is inconceivable 
that the entire population in any context— National, Racial, Ethnic, etc 
will accept the leadership of a person at any point of time For instance, 
though an overwhelming majority of Indians accepted Gandhi’s leader- 
ship when he was fighting the “Indian War of Independence” (which 
of course was believed to be the aspiration of the “entire” population), 
all did not accept his leadership Some opposed him on the question of 
means he used, many were indifferent to Independence, for, colonial re- 
gime suited them, and still others were said to have facilitated the conti- 
nuation of the British Then, it is not the percentage or proportion of the 
population “accepting” a leader which makes him a charismatic It is 
quite probable that a particular charismatic leader may be accepted only 
by a given segment of the population Martin Luther King, who cham- 
pioned the cause of American Negroes, is a case in point It is well-known 
that there was acute opposition to his leadership from among a section 
of the Negroes themselves It may also be noted here that there is every 
possibility of “erosion of charisma ” This happened to Gandhi in the latter 
phase of his life While he was upheld as the messaiha of Indian Indepen- 
dence struggle and was referred to as the Father of the Nation, his concep 
tion of “Hind Swaraj,” a nation constituted by village Republics was not 
appealing to a substantial proportion of Indian population This is one of 
the reasons why he sunk into insignificance after Freedom was won To 
sum up, the fact that a particular segment of the population accept the 



leadership of a person even when he does not have any “authority’ is 
crucial in rendering him a charismatic leader. 

Another assumption related to the above discussed one is that charisma 
is a quality confined to the top level leadership. That this too is an erroneous 
assumption will be apparent to any one who undertakes an empirical 
enquiry of the charismatic phenomenon. There are a number of local 
leaders whom I will designate as “local charismatics” for want of a better 
term. These leaders style their behaviour pattern after the national charis- 
matic leaders. The overt form of this is manifested in their dress pattern, 
dietary practices, daily programmes, etc. These local leaders have no 
traditional source of legitimacy and do not occupy any position of rational- 
legal authority. Yet, they have considerable influence over the people. 

The existence and operation oflocal charismatics is generally recognized 
in India, for, one frequently comes across the references to “Rajasthan 
Gandhi,” “Mysore Nehru” and the like. The local charismatics exist 
and operate even in a very limited locale as that, of a village. We will only 
search in vain to discover the charismatic qualities found in a Gandhi, 
Nehru or Vinoba Bhave in a person who is a local charismatic. Charisma 
is an amorphous category and is qualitatively different at different levels. 
For instance, a man of ethical qualities may emerge as a charismatic 
leader in village India. 

The notion of a local charismatic throws up certain questions. For 
instance, it may be asked whether the local charismatic is but a local 
edition, a mere replica of the national role-model? Two types of leadership 
appear possible: (1) The local charismatics assuming charisma without 
reference to the leaders of wider system. This is the possibility in culturally 
closed systems. Several Messianic, Revitalization and Rcvivah'stic move- 
ments among Indian tribes, for instance, arc initiated by charismatic leaders 
who operate independently of National leaders. The “independence” 
of these leaders is derived from the cultural autonomy of the systems in 
which they operate. (2) The local charismatics who follow the pattern of 
life of the charismatic leaders at the national or supra-national level. 
This is made effective through the phenomenon of vertical dispersion 
of charisma. The mantle of charisma may be passed downward, by the 
National leader, through the process of grooming regional leaders by him 
or the local leaders may establish sufficient communication with the Na- 
tional leaders thereby assuming the role of their spokesmen at the local 
level. In both these processes the local charismatic may come <6 resemble 
the National leader in several significant ways. 

Emergence of Charisma 

While Weber maintained that charisma usually and not necessarily 



emerges from a critical situation, he did not elaborate on the features 
of social structure which perpetuate and maintain the charismatic ele- 
ments in a society We will attempt to spell out the conditions of social 
system which favour the emergence and perpetuation of charisma It 
needs to be kept in mind here that personalities that are potentially charis- 
matic are continually being generated by the social system But all the 
chansmatics are not recognized, in fact some are not only ignored but 
labelled as deviants or condemned as insane Herein lies the significance 
of social validation of charisma In order to be a charismatic a person need 
not necessarily possess charisma but the collectivity need attribute the same 
to him Therefore, in order to understand genuine charisma the analysis 
must be directed to the social situations from which the charismatic figure 
originates and within which it operates and the character of the message 
he gives In other words only if the content of message given by the charis- 
matic is appropriate to the social climate that he is likely to be accepted 
as leader 

Friedland 24 mentions three reasons for the emergence of charismatic 
leadership ( 1 ) the expressing of sentiments which had been inchoate 
in society but which had been brought to limelight only recently by a 
handful of people, (n) in expressing these sentiments, leaders were engaging 
in activities defined as hazarduous by most people, (in) recognized evi 
dence of “success” in the activities undertaken by the leaders 

Friedland had carefully illustrated the pre-requisites for the emergence 
of charismatic leadership with the instance of Tanganyka However, we 
feel that no uniform set of reasons can be attributed to the emergence 
of charismatic leadership and that the nature of the social situation is a 
decisive factor in this process For instance, the cause championed by a 
charismatic leader may not be inchoate, it might be already established 
and recognized But if the measure hitherto taken did not combat the 
existing evil, the leader who comes out with a new solution or programme 
to deal with it may emerge as a charismatic Similarly, the leaders may 
not be risking their life or operating m hazarduous situations as champions 
of the causes under consideration It is conceivable that these leaders 
are well-supported and protected by the rational legal authority, in so 
far as the causes they champion are not challenges to the continuance of 
these who hold offices As for the evidence of success, it is a matter of 
evaluation Some groups may consider that considerable headway has 
been made by the activities of the leader while others may dismiss it as a 
mere “farce” or “political propaganda ’’ 

Keeping the above considerations mind we can speak of the following 
social system conditions for the emergence of charisma (1) Eruption 
of crisis, (2) Submerged discontent, (3) Failure of the measures hitherto 



taken to combat an existing “evil” ; (4) Patronage given by vested interest 
forces, including those in authority. The existence of one or more of these 
conditions may be viewed as a pre-requisite for the emergence of charis- 
matic leadership. However, this does not mean that these are sufficient 
conditions, though necessary' ones. Given these conditions the leaders 
who play one or more of the following roles will emerge as charismatics. 

1. Creating awareness among the people of the social problems and 
unfolding the possibilities of problem resolution, thereby championing 
the “felt need”; 

2. Evolving a new approach (means) to solve the problem at hand; 

3. Commitment to and pcrsuancc of a goal (end) widely acclaimed 
by the people at a given point of time; 

4. Professing the content of the message in such a manner so that it 
appeals at least to some sections of the population under reference. 

Our attempt hitherto has been to dispel some of the naive notions 
regarding the concept of charisma and to suggest that it is a very useful 
conceptual tool. Etzioni 25 had shown that Webers’ classification of 
authority may be applied to societies, social units and individual group 
relations. Therefore, it, may not be fortiluous to speak of charismatic 
movements. However, it is necessary to point out the specific reasons 
why we accept the notion of a charismatic movement. This brings us to 
a discussion on social movement. 

The Meaning of Social Movement 

The term social movement is one of the most widely used and yet 
one of the least precise and understood in Social Science literature. 
Therefore, it is necessary to specify at the very outset the sense in which 
we use the term. 

Tn “ the first text book on modern social movements to be pub- 

lished in America” 26 a multitude of topics arc included: Plato's Republic, 
Thomas Moore’s Utopia, Marx's Socialism, Mussolini’s Facism, Gandhi's 
Non-violence, and Co-operative Movement, the Labour Movement, the 
Peace Movement, to mention but a few. It is obvious that not only move- 
ments (collective behaviour or actions) but also the idea of systems which 
did not give birth to specific movements are also included under the 
term social movement. We propose, the term social movement should 
be employed more restrictivcly referring only to collective behaviour or 
actions. However, in doing so, a new problem confronts us. Collective 
behaviours are of several types: panic responses, hostile outbursts, or- 
ganized social action, etc. 27 The first two of the above noted collective 
behaviours cannot be labelled as movements, for they arc relatively short 
term unorganized outbursts and are not necessarily tied to any ideology or 


issue Therefore, only when an elementary collective behaviour (the 
crowd action, mass or public behaviour) becomes organized behaviour 
that it becomes a social movement When an elementary collective be- 
haviour “ acquires organization and form, a body of customs and 
traditions, established leadership, an enduring division of labour, social 
rules and social values, in short— a culture, a social organization, and a 
new scheme of life" 28 , it becomes a social movement 
An important source of confusion m the employment of the term 
social movement emanates from the fact that it is possible to speak of 
“general * social mov ements in v\ hich the participants have certain common 
interests and these are pursued in many different even uncoordinated 
ways Examples of such general social movements are the Labour move- 
ment, the Youth movement, etc One can also use the term to refer to spe- 
cific “movements" within a general category (For example, Trade Union 
movement and Youth Hostel’s movement) Again, while on the one hand 
social movements are believed to be attempts to instigate social changes 
(see below), they have been also defined as being pathological m character 
and those who belong to the movement (leaders and followers) are charac- 
terised as frustrated individuals 29 Finally, the qualifying adjectives used 
to refer to social movements are too varied “Radical” “Messianic,” 
“Nativistic," “Facist,” “Non-violent," “Religious, “Secular" etc , etc 
In such a confusing situation any student who undertakes an empirical 
study of a social movement is considerably handicapped It is a truism 
to recall here that certain measures of conceptual precision will be of great 
assistance to any student who undertakes an empirical investigation 
Keeping this consideration in mind the present endeavour is (a) to discuss 
the characteristics of social movements, (b) to identify the major com- 
ponents of a social movement, and (c) to suggest a typology of social 

Characteristics of Social Movements 
In order to sift out the characteristics of social movements, we have 
examined the defining criteria of social movements employed by ten 
writers The summary statement may be found in Fig I (It is true that 
there are several others who have attempted to define social movements 
The selection of authors is done on a randum basis It is hoped that 'the 
position is not fundamentally altered even when other definitions too are 
considered We have deliberately left out such definitions as by Arnold 
Green, for there can be considerable controversy m such characterisa- 
tions of social movements Needless to say, our search is for certain 
common denominators) 

The defining criteria employed by the authors are End, means, scope 

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9. A.F.C. Wallace” Revitalization „ Rcligious/Secular 

10. M.N. Znld and R. Ash” Social „ Not employed 



and content To start with, it may be interesting to note that sociologists 
who have studied movements in their own or other complex societies 
qualify it by the adjectne “social” (Abel, Blumer, Zald and Ash, Wendell 
King Blumer) and anthropologists who have studied mo\ ements in societies 
other than their own, which are usually “traditional” societies employ ad 
jectives such as “Messianic” (Barber), “Nativistic” (Linton), “Revitiliza- 
tion” (Wallace) Only Eisenstadt and Smelser speak of movements winch 
belong to various societies or cultures While the former writes on “Na 
tionalistic" movements m the New Nations, Smelser refers to movements 
in a variety of cultures It appears, the defining criteria employed by these 
writers are highly influenced by the nature of the society in which they 
undertook the investigation and the specific type of the movement which 
they have observed. For instance, all soc ologists who have studied com 
plex societies consider the goal of movements to be “change” and all 
anthropologists speak of the goal as system stability, regeneration or 
maintenance Even Wallace who considers social movements as change- 
orientated indicates that the goal is to revitalize the system In contradis- 
tinction to this either or (change/slabihty) position, Eisenstadt notes the 
possibility of Nationalistic movements in underdeveloped countnes 
simultaneously orientated to modem and traditional values thereby 
indicating that social movements may either be change-orientated or 
emphasize system stability and solidarity Smelser distinguishes between 
norm orientated movements and value orientated movements and sug- 
gests that those who subscribe to a movement envision the restoration, 
protection, modification, or creation of social norms or values That is 
to say, a movement may be change or stability orientated As has been 
indicated above our objective is to come out with certain common deno- 
minators of social movements irrespective of the society in which they 
originate or operate It seems rewarding to accept the line of thinking 
followed by Eisenstadt and Smelser 

The second defining criteria of social movements we have located is 
the “means” employed by them to attain their goals It is surprising that 
not a single author we have referred to, made a systematic effort to dis- 
tinguish and characterise movements based on the means employed 
by social movements, only two out of the ten writers refer to it More- 
over, there seems to be some confusion between means and content For 
instance, Wallace speaks of religious and secular means It seems to me, 
the religious — secular dichotomy is more appropriate m characterising 
the content of movement It is true that people, particularly in tnbal 
societies, resort to magical or religious means to achieve certain ends 
But usually, it operates at the individual or particularistic (family, km- 
group, etc ) level At any rate, “means” as employed by Wallace cannot 



be meaningfully linked to the goal, ‘movements' pursue. 

Abel refers to the “new mode of procedure” (means) employed for 
, goal-attainment as a distinguishing feature of social movements. However, 
he docs not make it clear what he means by a new mode of procedure. 
When we take stock of the contemporary empirical situation we are struck 
by two types of means employed by social movements to pursue their 
goals: violent and non-violent. Violent movements pursue their 
goals through conflict and non-violent movements seek to realize their 
goals through the co-operation of the parties concerned, be it the govern- 
ment, the organizations, or the people. Thus, if we arc to distinguish clearly 
between movements which arc orientated to total change of the system, 
yet employing radically different means, we need to recognize the impor- 
tance of the kind of means they employ, violent or non-violent. 

Only five of the ten authors employ scope of the movement as a dis- 
tinguishing criterion of social movements, and, of these, only Abel in- 
cludes both the spatial and societal aspects in the scope of movement. 
According to him the greater the geographical coverage of a movement, 
the greater is its scope. Again, the larger are the aspects of the society 
a movement tries to change, the greater its scope. Other writers refer to 
the scope of a movement only in terms of the aspects of the society the 
movement touches, it seems to be rewarding to recognize both the spatial 
and societal dimensions while we speak of the scope of a movement. 
A particular movement may be designed to affect all aspects of society 
but confined to a limited locale. Another movement may concen- 
trate only on one aspect of social life but may have a global spread. These 
movements would differ significantly in terms of their scope and hence 
it is necessary' to recognize both the spatial and societal dimensions of 
a movement. 

Content is employed as a distinguishing criteria only by three of the 
writers. All of them characterize movements either as religious or secular. 
(Linton’s terms magical and rational are rough equivalents of religious 
and secular). As has been pointed out earlier, we consider the religious- 
secular orientation of a movement as an important criterion of distinguish- 
ing between movements. c* 

Having discussed the relevance of four important characteristics (end, 
means, scope and content) in distinguishing between social movements 
it will be interesting to examine whether these criteria are useful to evolve 
a typology of social movements. We can think in terms of two types of 
means or mode of procedure that a movement may employ: violent or 
non-violent. This does not mean that a given movement will employ 
only violent or non-violent means. More often than not, the means actually 
resorted to will be a combination of the two. For instance, while the Indian 



independence movement was predominantly non violent, violent out 
bursts were not altogether absent Again the means employed by a move- 
ment may change at the different periods and phases of the movement. 
Notwithstanding all these we can visualize predominant}) violent or non 
violent movements Similarly the end of a social movement may be 
system stability or system-change Here again a total orientation to change 
or stability should be viewed as an ideal situation and we can fit in all 
mo\cments into the change stability continuum Thirdly, the content 
of a movement may be religious or secular (magical or rational) However 
it may be noted that even the most secular of all movements partake ele- 
ments of religion in their themes and therefore we are not thinking in 
terms of pure types Finally, a movement may be segmental or total in 
its scope The scope in turn has two dimensions spatial and societal 
A movement may be international in its scope (e g the socialist or labour 
movement) or may be confined to a particular nation (e g the Kibbutz 
movement m Isreal) or to a particular region in a given nation (eg 
Anti Hindi movement in India) Similarly, a movement may concern 
itself with selected aspects of the society (economic or political) or it may be 
orientated to a total transformation of the society A movement may 
also confine itself to a particular category (e g the Negroes, the Women 
etc) of population or to all persons irrespective of any particularistic 

Now taking into account the four defining criteria and the two alter 
natives in regard to each of these we can postulate sixteen different com 
binations Such a taxonomy of social movements may not be of much 
empirical value Not only because there are too many types under this 
scheme which obscure any meaningful analysis but also because of the fact 
that several of the combinations which we derive through this formula 
may not be found in actual situations and may not be empirical possibi 
lities at all 

In addition to these difficulties the defining criteria employed do not 
lend themselves as satisfactory ones The only characteristic that all the 
authors who define social movements have used is the end of the movement 
The end of a movement is the goal which it pursues, it hopes to achieve 
at a future date A movement may or may not achieve its goal and 
even during its operation it may have to abandon some of its ob- 
jectives and may develop new goal orientations The extremely transient 
character of the goals a movement may pursue suggest the problems 
involved in categorizing movements based on this criteria The scope of 
a movement has two dimensions (spatial and societal) and this makes 
for the possibility of four sub-types (a) movements with wide geographical 
coserage touching all aspects of society, (b) movements with limited 



geographical coverage touching all aspects; (c) movements with wide geo- 
graphical coverage touching only limited aspects; and (d) movements 
with limited geographical coverage touching only a few or only one aspect 
of life. Thus the sub-types add to the number of types of movements 
which renders the typology more confusing. While content and means 
arc important characteristics of a movement these do not exhaust all the 
features of it. This compels us to look for a set of criteria for classifying 
movements. The areas we may examine in this connection are the factors 
which result in the emergence of social movements and the life-cycle that 
. it undergoes. 

Emergence of Social Movements 

According to Davis a social movement emerges to meet a “new-felt 
need .’’ 40 Barber asserts that there exists a positive correlation between 
messianic movements and deprivations of various types . 41 BJumer con- 
tends that social movements arise out of “undefined or unstructured situa- 
tions” which cause stresses in the system 42 Wallace opines that Revitaliza- 
tion movements start only when the participants of a culture feel that the 
system is unsatisfactory '. 43 Linton holds that Nativistic movements are 
associated with frustrating situations and are primarily attempts to com- 
pensate for the frustrations of the society’s members . 44 Banks point out 
that social movements are functions of dissatisfaction with the existing 
order . 45 Abel argues that a social movement is directed against something 
which it hopes to combat and eliminate and the motivation behind the 
collective effort is the modifications of existing social arrangements . 46 

All the above noted writers note that, and, of course, many more can 
be added to the list, social movements emerge due to certain malintcgra- 
tion in society. In so far as strain is the womb from which all social move- 
ments emerge we cannot rely on this as a criterion for evolving a typology. 
However, an understanding of the process of crystallization of a social 
movement and the subsequent changes that it undergoes may help us in 
our endeavour. This brings us to an analysis of the components of social 

Components of a Social Movement 

As Banks 47 pointed out, social movements have two important compo- 
nents, an ideology and an organization. It is our contention that in the 
formative stage of a given social movement cither the ideology 48 or the 
organization will appear first, depending upon a number of factors. Now, 
appearance of a new ideology itself is indicative of the strain in the sys- 
tem. Parsons 49 consider ideology as a device to case situations of strain. 
In the process of strain absorption, the existing patterns may be reinforced, 


if the vested interest forces are very strong, or change may come about, 
if the resistance is overcome Sutton 50 and others think that ideologies 
tend to flourish m situations m which there is discrepancy between a set 
of ideal standards and actual state of affairs Zimmerman 5 ! thinks that 
ideologies arise as the result of differing view points regarding the existing 
social arrangement Smelser 52 too recognizes strain or malintegration as 
the source for the emergence of ideology Given the fact that the strain 
in the system produces a distinct ideology and if a sufficient number of 
persons are attracted towards it we see the possibility of the emergence 
of an ideological movement 

However, it is not necessary that an ideology should emerge first, 
for the birth of a social movement Often it is observed m empirical situa 
tions that people come together and start an organization to deal with 
situations of strain They may not be always clear about the ideology 
behind their organization The organization is launched as an instrument 
to fight an “evil” or to eradicate certain social problems As the orgamza 
tion develops, and grows, the ideology will be evolved or discovered Such 
efforts may crystallize into a ‘movement’ over a penod of ‘time We 
designate these, as organizational movements, for want of an apt term. 

We have suggested above that situations of strain may give nse to two 
distinct lands of social movements ideological and organizational move- 
ments A third possibility is the emergence of a charismatic movement As 
Weber 55 made it clear, charismatic heroes emerge from cntical situations 
Charisma represents the sudden eruption of novel forces from crisis Since 
charisma is not only non-institutional but also anti-mstitutional, the 
possibility of an organizational build up is almost ruled out, especially 
m the initial stages of the movement The charismatic movement does 
not start with a set ideology, what constitutes the ideology of the move- 
ment is the pronouncements of the leader Obviously, the ideology will 
be crystallized only after a penod of time Since the pnmary inspiration of 
the movement springs from the charismatic leader, the ideology will have 
only secondary significance, especially in the formative stage of the 

Our sxdyxs suggettf Aha? a srtusixxt at sisrsas at & sooxt}' assy hs as utf 
through the emergence of a social movement. In this context, we have 
noted three distinct possibilities- 

1 Appearance of a charismatic leader, who comes with the promise 
of mitigating the evils at hand, and leading the people to a future utopia. 

2 Emergence of a new ideology which champions the cause of the dis- 
gruntled or dissatisfied section of the population 

3 Establishment of a new organization to deal with the problem at hand 

We suggest that each of these developments will give nse to the emer- 



gcnce of three distinct types of social movements; charismatic, ideologi- 
cal and organizational. We will now consider the characteristics of these 
movements and their “life-cycle” in some detail. 

Characteristics of Charismatic Movements 

In the light of our discussions hitherto some general characteristics of 
charismatic movements can be deduced. 

1. A charismatic movement emerges from a critical situation created 
by the stresses and strains in the social structure. 

2. The origin of the movement is couched in “mysterious” terms. The 
source of inspiration for the movement is supra-cmpirical. 

3. The end or goal of the movement is the transformation of the pre- 
valent social arrangement which culminated into a crisis. This may be 
system change, revival, restoration, protection or stability. 

4. The movement comes forth with new ideas and/or new mode of 
procedure to deal with the existing problems, to ease the strain in the 

5. While the ideology of the movement (the ideas propounded by the 
leadership) is important, the charismatic appeal is uppermost, and to 
that extent the significance of the ideology is reduced. 

6. The leader of the movement should be a charismatic and his relation- 
ship with the followers is marked by awe and resqect. The followers should 
willingly accept their “duties.” 

7. Tiic movement will not have any “ofiice” or organizational build 
up. To the extent there emerges on organizational base it indicates routi- 
nization of charisma. 

8. The movement’s programme should be essentially non-cconomic 
or non-amcliorative in orientation, the movement should be a “mission.” 

9. The movement should be outside the realm of everyday routine and 
its economic support should be derived from gifts, donations or other 
voluntary or unsystematic types of support. 

10. The division of labour in the movement is not neat and tidy. Pro- 
motions, dismissals, careers, salaries, rules and regulations arc of relatively 
little importance for the movement “personnel”. 

It is very unlikely that a charismatic movement will retain its initial 
characteristics for long and this for two reasons. 54 First, the life span 
of charismatic leader, as in the case of other individuals, is limited and 
it is very 1 unlikely that the process of succession takes place smoothly, 
even if the charismatic leader “grooms” his successor. In fact, one of 
the greatest threat to the continued existence of a charismatic movement 
is the crisis of succession. In so far as succession is institutionalized, 
there will be an erosion in charismatic qualities from the successive sue- 



cessors Second, charismatic leaders can make calamitous policy choices 
and it is unlikely that they make the correct choice every time If they 
make such decisions, it is not likely that his followers can stop them 
immediate!) However, in such a situation the possibility of at least a 
section of followers becoming inimical to the movement cannot be ruled 
out, even when the leader is alive Even if the leader is successful m holding 
his followers so far as he is alive and active, his death will give expression 
to the submerged discontent, leading to the disappearance or split of 
the movement If a charismatic movement is to survive it should fulfil 
two conditions It should have a sufficient number of followers who 
are committed to the ideology of the movement The ideology of a chans* 
matic movement is contained in the pronouncements and writings of its 
leader and the interpretations and extensions given to it by his close asso- 
ciates If the followers are committed to the core of the ideology of the 
movement, ignoring the “whims ’ of the leader, it may be taken as the 
first sign of survival for the movement However, any movement which 
offers only an ideology to its followers is unlikely to satisfy them The 
large majority of the followers would expect some kind of “matenaH 
incentives for their continued allegiance to the movement This means 
the movement should have a programme of translating its ideology into 
practice and in this process an organization is bound to emerge Thus, 
in the final analysis, the survival of a charismatic movement will be assured 
only if the ideology of the movement is accepted by the followers and 
then it is translated into concrete realities through an organizational device 
We can, thus, speak of three phases of a charismatic movement in terms 
of its life-cycle the charismatic phase, the ideological phase and the 
organizational phase By the time the movement reaches the last phase 
of its development, if indeed it does, its original attributes would have 
disappeared to a large extent Typical examples of charismatic move- 
ments may be found in Messianic, Radical, Religious and Reform 

Ideological Mo\e merits 

Ideological movements emerge as responses to the “strains" created 
due to the inadequacy of the existing ideological streams in a society It 
offers an alternate scheme of life to those who are dissatisfied with the 
present state of affairs The ideology of the movement depicts the kind 
of social world its adherents want to live in and beckons others to live 
with Those who subscribe to the ideology of a given movement dream 
of the social order they conceive as an admittedly ‘better’ one than 
the existing one The ideology serves as a mechanism of identity forma* 
Uon for the adherents to the ideology and the supporters of the move* 


2 ! 

mcnt and lends their ‘isolation’ from the existing society. An important 
manifest function of the techniques employed for this process of identity 
formation is to build up solidarity among the committed by concentrating 
upon their ideological similarity and emphasizing their difference with 
‘others ’. 55 

The scheme of life put forward by an ideological movement may be 
novel and modern or revivalistic and traditional or a combination of the 
traditional and the modem. What is distinctive about an ideological move- 
ment is its primary ideological appeal unlike the charismatic movement 
wherein the followers arc over-awed by the leader. The basic factor which 
governs the admission to the movement is commitment to its ideology. 

The leaders of an ideological movement are those who propound its 
ideology or those who arc firmly committed to it, — the ideological purists. 
To the extent there is a distortion of faith on the part of the leaders in 
the ideology of the movement they lose hold over the followers and the 
movement gets weakened in its ideological base. In so far as ideological 
purists fail in their task there is every possibility of conflicts, schisms, 
factions and fissions. Finally, if an ideological movement does not deve- 
lop an organizational weapon to translate its ideas into practice, it is very' 
unlikely that it will survive. In the final analysis, there are two phases of 
an ideological movement: Ideological phase and Organizational phase. 
Examples of ideological movements are: Socialist movements, Nationalis- 
tic movements, Contemporary Student movements, etc. 

Organizational Movements 

Tlicse movements emerge as “organized” attempts to attend to the 
grievances of a given group, be it a minority group or a depressed group. 
True, they too have an ideology 7 , which will be evolved eventually, but 
the basic feature of the movement is to be discerned in the organizational 
structure, which seeks to ameliorate the “grievances” of its followers. 
Since the orientation of the movement is instrumental in character, the 
basis of admission to the movement is not faith but need. It is the manager, 
the man who gets things done, who assumes leadership in organizational 
movements. Inefficient leaders are relegated to the background by those 
who can handle the reins of power. While the charismatic and ideological 
movements may not attempt to fulfil the utilitarian needs of their followers, 
particularly in the initial stages, the express aim of organizational move- 
ments is to secure specific benefits for the followers. The division of labour 
between the ordinary members and the leaders will be clearly demarcated 
in organizational movements. The goal this type of movements pursue 
requires that certain procedures such as formal enrolment, paying of 
admission fees. etc. arc inevitable. Examples of organizational movements 



are Trade Union movement, Co-operative movement, Community-Deve- 
lopment movement, etc 

Having characterized the three types of social movements in their 
bare skeletons I would like to caution the readers in regard to certain 
points Each of these type of movements is viewed as “ideal types" 
Obviously, the “lack of fit” is to be anticipated while analysing specific 
cases Secondly, it should be kept in mind that ideology, organization and 
leadership are integral aspects of all movements However, a given move- 
ment at a given point of time may have primacy in regard to one of these 
aspects Therefore, a movement will not be purely an ideological, orgamza 
tional or charismatic movement, but will be predominantly so 

Before concluding this section, I would like to make it clear that the 
four defining catena that we have discovered in the definitions of social 
movements need not be sacrificed while accepting this typology. All the 
four catena, end (change or stability of the system), means (violence 
or non-violence), content (secular or religious), and scope (comprehensive 
or segmental) can be built into the suggested typology. For instance, 
we can think of an ideological movement, with religious colouration, 
resorting to violent means and wedded to change operating with a limited 
scope Similarly we can conceive of a charismatic movement with secular 
orientation, comprehensive in its scope, pursuing system stability through 
non-violent means The point I want to stress is that while the catena 
used m defining social movements are not yielding enough m evolving a 
typology they are useful m characteazing all of the three basic types of 
social movements, we have suggested Thus, our typology has an additional 
advantage of subsuming the catena used by others in defining social 

The Argument 

In the light of our discussion hitherto, we put forward the following 
argument, that we propose to examine in the present study In order that 
a social movement can sustain itself and realize the goals it aims at not 
only the followers of the movement should develop a firm commitment 
to the ideology of the movement but also that it should develop an ade- 
quate organizational base to translate its ideas into practice, in the form 
of programmes The characteristics of an ideal-typical charismatic move- 
ment are such that its ideological appeal cannot be uppermost and its 
organizational base is necessarily feeble To the extent the ideological 
appeal gams importance, the chansmatic content of the movement will 
be reduced and to the extent there emerges an organizational base the 
tendency towards routimzation of chansma will be strong However, 
in the process of implementation of policies an organizational build up 



becomes inevitable. Paradoxically enough, in this process there occurs 
considerable erosion of charisma and the movement becomes a mechanism 
for pattern maintenance or fension-management. In the final analysis, 
a purely charismatic movement can propel but not sustain any long term 
change process. 


'For an understanding of the concept of charisma as used by Weber, See Max 
Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, London, William Hodge and 
Company. 1947. 

: Harokl Wolpc, “A Critical Analysis of Some Aspects of Charisma,’’ The Sociological 
Review, Vo!. 16(7), New Series, November 1968, pp. 305-18. 

3 C.J. Friedrich, “Leadership and the problem of the charismatic power”, Journal 
of Politics, Vol. 23, No. 1, 1961, pp. 3-24, and Dorothy Emmet, Functions, Purpose and 
Powers, Macmillan Co. Ltd., London, 1958, 

■•Edward Shils, “Charisma, Order and Status”, American Sociological Review , Vol. 30, 
No. 2, 1965, pp. 199-215, and S.N. Eisenstadt, “Charisma and Institution Building,” 
in Max Weber, On Charisma and Institution Building, The Heritage of Sociology Series, 
Chicago, Chicago University Press, 1968, pp. ix-lvi. 

JHarold Wolpc. op. cit., p. 306. 

<>T.K. Ooinmcn, “Charisma, Social Structure and Social Change", Comparative Stud- 
ies in Society and History, Vol. X(l), 1967, pp. 85-99. 

7 C.J. Friedrich, op. cit., p. 15. Arthur Schclsingcr, “Democracy and Heroic 
Leadership is the Twentieth Century" (read at the Congress for Cultural Freedom at 
Berlin in June, 1966) (cited in Friedrich, op. cit., p. 16 (f.n.). Dorothy Emmet, op. cit., 
pp. 206-23S. 

6 Fricdrich. op. cit., p. 16. 

^Quoted in Friedrich, op. cit., p. 16. 

l0 Max Weber, op. cit., pp. 350-51. 

"Edward Shils, “Charisma, Order and Status," American Sociological Review, Vol, 
30, No. 2, 1965, p. 200. 

"It may be noted that charismatic qualities can be attributed not only to personali- 
ties, but may also become resident in institutions, in categories or strata of the society. 
See Shils, op. cit., 1965, p. 202. Etzioni suggests that charismatic element is found even 
in complex organizations. See Amitai Etzioni, A Comparative Analysis of Complex 
Organizations, The Free Press of GIcnccs, Inc., New York, 1961, pp. 201-33. 

"Edward Shils, “Tradition and Liberty: Antinomy and Interdependence”, Ethics, 
Vol. LX VII, No. 3, 1958, p. 156. 

"Max Weber, op. cit., p. 359. 

"Rcinhard Bendix. Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait, Heinemann and Co., 
London, 1960, p. 9. 

lfr Cf. Thomas distinguished between three personality types: Creative, bohemian 
and Philistines. The creators arc innovators and change agents. See W.I. Thomas, 
Social Behaviour and Personality, Edmund H. Volkart (cd) Social Science Research 
Council, New York. 1951. Toynbee attributes creativity to a group. He speaks of the 



creative minority See Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History (Abridged by D G Somer- 
well, 2 Vo!s) Oxford University Press, London, 1946 and 1957 
t?Edward Shils, op cit (1965) pp 200 
1! SN Eisenstadt, op at, 

t^Thomas E. Dow (Jr) “The Role of Charisma in Modern African Development,” 
Social Forces, Vol 46(3) , March 1968, 328 338 
2®Ibid, pp 332-3 

2iG Me T Kahm, Guy J Pauker and Lucton W Pye, “Comparative Politics in Non- 
Western Countries,” The American Political Science Review Vol 49, 1955, pp 1022-41 
22RJ Ratnam, “Charisma and Political Leadership”, Political Studies, Vol 12, No 
3, 1964, pp 341-54 
23Harold Wope, op cit , p 315 

2<W H Fnedland, * For a Sociological Concept of Charisma”, Social Forces Vol 
43 (1), 1964, p 22 

2 5 Amitai Etzioni, Modem Organizations, New Jersy, Prentice Hall, 1965, pp 51-53 
^Jerome Dans, Contemporary Social Movements New York and London, D Ap- 
pleton Century Company , 1930, p « 

27 N J Smelser, The Theory of Collective Behaviour, London, Routledge and Kegan 
Paul, 1962, p 2 

2*Herbert Blumer, “Collective Behaviour,” in A M Lee (ed ), New Outline of the 
Principles of Sociology, New York, Barnes and Noble, 1951, p 199 
i’AmoId Green, Sociology, New York, McGraw Hill Book Company, Inc , 1956, 
pp 532-33 

3«T Abel, “The Pattern of a Successful Political Movement," in Bertlet H Stoodley 
(Ed ) Society and Self A Reader i n Social Psychology, New York, The Free Press of 
Clencoe, 1962, pp 561 67 

31B Barber, “Acculturation and Messianic Movements," American Sociological 
Review. Vol VI(3), 1941, pp 663 69 
3*H Blumer, in A M Lee, op at , pp 199-214 

33S N Eisenstadt, “Sociological Aspects of Political Development in Underdeveloped 
Countries'", Economic Development and Cultural Change, Vol V (4), 1957, pp 289-307 
34R. Heberle, “Observations on the Sociology of Social Movements'" American 
Sociological Review, Vol 14(3), 1949, pp 346-57 
35RaIph Linton "Nativistic Movements," American Anthropologist Vol 45 (2) 1943, 
pp 23040 

3«NJ Smelser, op cit , passim 

37\Vendel King Social Movements ut United States New York, Randm House, 1956, 
p 27 

3»AFC Wallace “ Revitalization Movements,” American Anthropologist, Yol 
58(2), 1966, pp 264-281 

3»Mayer N Zald and Roberta Ash, ‘ Social Movement Organizations Growth, 
Decay and Change”, Social Forces Vol 44(3), 1966, pp 327-41 
4®Jerome Davis, op cit , pp 9-10 
J1 B Barber, op cit , 663-67 

42 H Blumer, in JB Gittler (ed) , Review of Sociology An Analysis of a Decade, 
New York Barnes and Becker, 1957, p 130 
43A F G Wallace, op cit, p 265 
44IL Linton, op at , p 233 

«J.A Banks and Olive Banks, “Feminism and Social Change A Case Study of a 
Social Movement", in George K ZoUschan and Walter Husch (ed ), Explorations m 



Social Chance, London, Routiedge and Kogan Paul, 196-', pp. 552. 

4S T. Abel, op. cit., pp. 562-63. 

•* 7 J.A. Banks, and Olrvc Banks, op. cit., pp. 547-69. 

4! Thc term ideology is here used not in the Marxian, Freudian or Mannheintinn 
sense. Therefore, an ideology is neither false or misleading ideas nor a cloak for reality, 
nor a weapon in the hands of the vested interest forces. By the ideology of a social 
movement, we mean, the “idea system” as contained in its documents, as propounded 
by its leadership and as evidenced in the pursuance of its policies. 

•‘t’Talcott Parsons, The Social System, Illinois, The Free Press of Glencoe, 1951, 
pp. 289-97. 

s°Francis Sutton ct-al. The American Business Creed, Cambridge, Harvard Univer- 
sity Press, 1956. 

!I Carl C. Zimmerman, “Ideological Movements and Social Change", in Joseph 
Rouccck (cd.), Contemporary Political Ideologies, New Jersey, Little Field Adams 
and Co., 1961, pp. 5-6 

”N.J. Smclscr, Sociology of Economic Life, New Delhi, Prentice Hall of India, 1965, 
pp. 40-44. 

«Mnx Weber, op. cit., 1947, pp. 358-373. 

;4 I draw heavily on Levy's characterization of charismatic leaders. See, Marion J. 
Levy (Jr.), Modernization and the Structure of Societies, Vol. II, Princcston, Princcston 
University Press, 1966, pp. 350-53. 

J5 J.A. Banks and Olive Banks, op. cit., pp. 551. 


The Bhoodan-Gramdan Movement: 
An Analysis 

In the first chapter we have outlined the characteristics of an ideal 
typical charismatic movement Our next task is to examine how far this 
characterization is true in the case of Bhoodan Gramdan movement Be 
fore we undertake this it is necessary to know the history of the movement 
It is not our intention to present a chronicle of evolution, but to highlight 
particularly the goal transformations of the movement 

y* 3S2NS a La 

Historical Background 

Though the Bhoodan Gramdan Movement was initiated only in 1951, 
three years after the death of Gandhi the ideology of the movement 
may be traced back to him Gandhi pursued two major objectives Swaraj 
broadly understood as independence, and Sanodaya (literally, ‘uplift 
of all ) the ideal society, the non violent social order, which Gandhi wanted 
to evolve After the achievement of independence, Sanodaya became the 
primary Gandhian objective and it was towards this ideal he and leading 
Gandhian disciples, continued to work 
Even before the attainment of independence there was a rift between 
Gandhi and his followers which culminated in his “retiring” from Tndian 
National Congress the political organization which he led in the fight 
against the British Before disassociating himself from the Congress, 
Gandhi made a statement wherein he had noted the reasons for his action 
and the relevant ones are noted below 1 

1 The failure of Congress intelligentsia to conform to hand spinning 

Vo^TidVi Va4 -iWirAfi wn ycrswMA, lack} Va.ii A-spiwamg a 

quisite for membership in Congress instead of a nominal fee) 

2 The method of approaching the problem of untouchability (Gandhi 
advocated complete touchability — orientation) 

3 Inadequate recognition by the congressmen of the fundamental 
importance of the creed of nonviolence 

4 The means end controversy (Gandhi insisted on the purity of means, 
that means should be absolutely non violent) 

5 The growing corruption in Congress ranks 

{/Diversify Central Library. 


The reasons that Gandhi listed for his retiring from the Congress 
organization indicate the gap between the ideals it upheld and the practice. 
Soon after independence Gandhi had suggested the dissolving of the Con- 
gress and wanted that congressmen should become a band of devoted 
social workers (lok sevaks). His suggestion was not heeded then and be- 
fore he could give it any concrete shape he died. Soon after his death, 
the “constructive workers” (the Gandhian followers engaged in social 
reconstruction on the lines suggested by him) met at Seva Gram in March 
1948, in Wardha where Gandhi's Ashram is situated and decided to 
start a Sarvodaya SamaJ, a brotherhood for the uplift and welfare of one 
and all, a brotherhood of those believing in the practice of truth and non- 
violence in all aspects of their life. 2 A Sarvodaya Samiti was formed to 
organize annual mcla (meetings); Sammclans (conferences) and to main- 
tain a register of Sevaks (Servants) and for correspondence in India and 
abroad with persons interested in the Sarvodaya ideal. Thus, Sarvodaya 
Samiti emerged as an organization without any challenging objectives 
or programmes, constituted by a large body of “unemployed” construc- 
tive workers. 

The first conference of the members of this organization was held in 
1949 near Indore (Madhya Pradesh) where Vinoba Bhave, the leading 
Gandhian disciple had elucidated the principles of Sarvodaya and the 
aims of the Samaj. The Akhil Bharat Sarva Seva Sangh was founded to 
carry on the activities of the Samaj. It is this organization with its head- 
quarters at Kashi, which co-ordinates the activities undertaken on Gan- 
dhian lines, including those of Bhoodan-Gramdan movement, in India. 
The second session of Sarvodaya Samaj was held in 1950 in Orissa and 
the third session in Hyderabad (in Andhra Pradesh) in 1951. Vinoba went 
to Hyderabad to attend the conference, from Scvagram Ashram and had 
planned to walk back to the Ashram after the conference. The objective 
of this Padayatra was to acquaint himself with the conditions which existed 
in rural areas particularly in Telcngana. Tclcngana had just come out of 
the violent peasant riots. It was Vinoba's quest to solve the problem 
of landlessness through non-violent means which took him to Tclcngana 
where lie secured the first land donation which marked the beginning of 
the Bhoodan-Yagna (Land Gift Mission). 

Tclcngana Peasant Riot 

As early as in 1947 a revolutionary peasant movement had slowly been 
forming, led by communist leaders in Tclcngana. 3 Telcngana was the 
eastern half of the erstwhile princely State of Hyderabad, comprising 
eight districts having an area of 44,000 sq. miles, populated mainly by the 
Telugu-speaking peoples. Under the Nizam a notoriously semi-feudal 



agrarian system had been perpetuated and the peasantry was npe for 
radical leadership On the eve of Independence Hyderabad became a 
large question mark in the heart of India, being a Hindu majority area, 
entirely in the hands of a Muslim ruler and managed by Muslim elites 
An extremist Muslim sect, the Razakars, demanded the integration of 
Hyderabad with Pakistan The Congress and the Communists m temporary 7 
alliance, went into underground operation In September 1948, the Indian 
Government force marched into Hyderabad and the Nizam gave way 
When the interim Congress Government was set up in Hyderabad after 
the merger with India, the Communists refused to surrender their arms 
and went into underground operation against the Government The 
Communists set in motion an indigenous mass campaign against the land- 
lords mainly in the districts of Nalgonda and Warangal The armed Com- 
munists emerged at nights to murder the landlords and to divide their 
lands among the poor According to communist claims a total of 3,000 
villages had been sovietized, and one million acres of land had been 
seized by the peasants during that period A large number of men were 
killed by the Communists and police during the riots 

Indian communist leaders claimed that the Telengana peasant not shook 
for the first time “the mam bastions of feudal orders in India to its very 
foundations” and “blazed the path of Indian peoples Democratic Re- 
volution” 4 Terror and insecurity prevailed in Telengana from 1948 to 
1950 5 It was this depleted Telengana that Vinoba visited after his Sar- 
tocfaya conference in Hyderabad m I95f On his way back to Wardha 
by padayatra he reached Pochampalh village where forty hanjan (the name 
Gandhi used for ‘untouchables,’ meaning the children of God) landless 
families requested him to secure some land for them Vinoba conveyed 
this desire of the landless lower castes m a meeting held in the village 
and the first land gift or Bhoodan of 100 acres came forth 6 Thus the fl/ioo- 
dan Gramdan movement was born out of a crisis 

The Evolution of the Moxement 

The initial objective of the Bhoodan movement when it started in 1951 
was to secure voluntary donations of land and distribute it to the land- 
less with a view to remove the bitterness existing between land owners 
and the landless However, the movement soon came out with a demand 
for l/6th share of land from all land owners In 1952, the movement had 
widened into Gramdan (literally, village-in gift) and had started advocating 
the collective ownership of land 

The first village to come under Gramdan was Mangroth in Hamupur 
district of Uttar Pradesh It took more than three years to get another 
village in gift The second and third Gramdans took place m Orissa and the 


movement started spreading with emphasis on securing villages in gift. 

The process of Gramdan starts with an awakening of social conscious- 
ness or collective will among the villagers (Gram Bhavana). This is to be 
followed by Gram Samkalpa, the creation of community determination 
to accept the Gramdan way of life. It is believed that Gram Samkalpa 
will result in the generation of Lok Shakti (peoples power) and this in 
turn will give birth to a people’s polity ( Lok-niti ). Thus a new environ- 
ment is hoped to be created where the centre of all activities and efforts, 
will be individuals. 

A village should take three interlinked steps before it earns its title: 
Gramdan village: (i) the villagers who opt for Gramdan should agree to 
transfer the title deeds of all their land in favour of a legally constituted 
village assembly ( Gram-Sabha ); (ii) a pre-condition for this being that the 
village assembly should be constituted beforehand; and, (iii) creation of 
a village fund ( Gram Kosh) meant for social welfare measures and econo- 
mic development. 

The basic phases of Gramdan arc Prapti (receiving), Pnshti (completion) 
and Nirman (reconstruction). During the first phase people arc persuaded 
to make a declaration that they have voluntarily decided to sign away 
the ownership ofland in favour of their village assembly. During the second 
phase, the community is expected to implement the primary- conditions of 
Gramdan, that is, re-distribution of land, formation of Gram Sabha and 
the constitution of a village fund ( Gram Kosh). Then starts the phase of 
reconstruction ( Nirman ) with the active co-opcration of the entire village 

It is necessary at this stage to acquaint ourselves with the changes, 
the concept of Gramdan had undergone. The notion of Gramdan although 
emerged in 1952, the first systematic attempt to define it was made by 
the Prabandh Samiti of the Akhil Bharat Sana Seva Sangh, at its meeting 
in September 1957. Gramdan and Gram Parivar (village family) were 
defined as follows: “If about 80% of land owners of a village are pre- 
pared to give up the right of ownership of their land and not less than 
51 % of the total land had come under its purview, the village was to be 
considered as Gramdan. If, due to scarcity of land, the landless people 
and their families who have got very' small size of land are prepared to 
similarly gift away their other incomes then it should be considered as 
'Gram Parivar V The notion of Gram Parivar, thus extended the scope 
of donation from land to other kinds of wealth ( Sampati Dan). Other types 
of Dans, such as Shrama Dan (donation of labour), Budhi Dan (gift of 
intelligence), Jcevan Dan (gift of one’s life), etc., too were introduced in 
order to secure the co-operation of men with varying resources and 



In the beginning, the terra ‘village’ was meant to refer to a revenue- 
village and the donation of 80% of the persons owning 51 % of the total 
land was necessary to deem it to be Gramdan It may be noted here that 
most villages have hamlets {Tola, patti, etc ) attached to them and these 
hamlets were also considered independent villages for purposes of Gram 
dan donations but also created a number of problems 7 

After a village was declared Gramdan it was expected that the land 
in the village should be distributed equally amongst the households taking 
into account the number of persons in each household However, such a 
measure was not welcomed by the landed in general and the richer land 
lords in particular Redistribution of land on an equal basis hardly took 
place anywhere In order to narrow the gap between the ideal and the actual, 
the concept of Gramdan was re-defined in 1965 Instead of an equitable 
distribution of land it was thought to be satisfactory, if all land owners 
parted with only l/20th of their land, for distribution to landless The 
land owners were permitted to retain 19/20th of their land with permanent 
heritable rights This new arrangement was- designated as Sulabh Gramdan 
Though the leaders of the movement rationalize this goal reversal as, 
‘one step backward in order to secure two steps forward’, in effect, the 
notion of Sulabh Gramdan amounts to a substantial change in the goal 
orientation of the movement, a tendency towards the decline of the 

The concept of Sulabh Gramdan called for a clear cut distinction bet- 
ween ownership and possession of land While a person joining Gramdan 
was expected to surrender his ownership in respect to his entire land, 
he can possess 19/20th of the land with permanent hereditary rights 
Though it can be argued that theoretically individual ownership of land 
is abolished through Sulabh Gramdan practically each owner continues 
to have the benefits of ownership 

It is felt, by the workers of the movement, that exclusive emphasis of 
the movement on securing land donation and distributions, narrows 
down its scope Consequently, it was decided to work towards an enlarged 
goal of Gram Swaraj (village Republic) in 1963 Therefore, along 
with Gramdan the programmes of building a Shanti Sena (the peace 
brigade) and developing village orientated Khadi too were included, in 
the scope of the movement This came to be known as the Triple pro 
gramme (Trmdh Karyakram) Vmoba declared that the best way of paying 
homage to the memory of Gandhi dunng his centenary year in 1969 
would be to lay the foundation for Gram Swaraj in every village in India 
through the movement by that year 

The concept of Sulabh Gramdan as it is understood now insists on four 
basic conditions 



1. A minimum of I /20th of cultivable land should be donated by all 
land owners in the village for distribution to the landless. 

2. The ownership of the entire land in the village should be vested 
with Gram Sabha (village Assembly). The land owner’s heritable 
right with regard to 19/20th of his land will continue. To lake loan 
from the Government and Co-operative bank one can mortgage the 
land in possession with permission of the Gram Sabha and one can 
sell the land to the Gram Sabha or 'to any family which has joined 

3. After paying the land revenue and distribution of the crops, one 
has to contribute to Gram Sabha j /40th of the produce of the land for 
Gramnidhi (Village fund). Those who arc landless and have other 
sources of income will contribute 1 /30th of it to the village funds 
either in cash or in labour. The Gramnidhi is to be used for the main- 
tenance of orphans and destitutes, for extending educational facilities 
and for the economic development of the village. 

4. A Gram Sabha will be constituted by drawing one member from each 
family (household). The Gram Sabha is expected to function cither 
with unanimity or consensus. 

The triple programme for village reconstruction which was accepted 
in 1963 by the movement could not be implemented with much vigour 
and failed to maintain the expected tempo. To accelerate the pace of the 
movement Vinoba gave a call for Gramdan Toofan in 1965. The movement 
was concentrated in the State of Bihar. There are 70,000 villages in 
Bihar and if 1 /7th of it could be brought under Gramdan within six months, 
it would have created a conducive environment for the movement. 

In order to avoid possible pitfalls while operating on a mass-scale 
four basic conditions were laid down, for a village to be declared as 

1. The village, where 75% of land owners and 75% persons residing in 
that village have signed the declaration form for surrendering owner- 
ship will only be considered a ‘pledged’ Gramdan. 

2. The individual Samarpan-patra (document surrendering the owner- 
ship right in land) should be filled in at the same time as one has signed 
the declaration form ( Gramdan Patrika). 

3. If 1/20 part of the village land has been distributed to the landless 
and Gram Sabha constituted, a village will be considered ‘active.’ 

4. Only after the registration of a Gramdan village by the Government, 
it will be regarded as a ‘declared village.’ 

As we have noted earlier, the number of Gramdan villages were inflated 
due to the tendency on the part of the workers of the movement to bring 
smaller villages or hamlets into Gramdan . usually leaving out big villages 



with a more complex social structure This situation compelled Vmoba 
to give a call for Prakhand Dan, that is gift of Blocks (In Rural India 
a number of villages are grouped under a Community Development 
Block and they are treated as a unit for purposes of development) More- 
over, it is hoped that Prakhand Dan will facilitate reconstruction work, 
for it is an economically viable unit for developmental purposes 
The first Block-gift came from the Tinmelveh district in Tamilnad b> 
early 1966 Initially it was thought that only if all the villages in a Block 
are bought under Gramdan that it should be considered to be Prakhand 
Dan But later on (April 1966) it was decided that when at least 75% 
of the total population in a Block, excluding the urban population, or 
85% of the revenue villages of the Block have come under Gramdan, 
the whole Block should be declared as Prakhand Dan 
When all the Blocks in a district declare Prakhand Dan, it is deemed as 
Zila Dan The first Zila dan came from the Durbhanga district of Bihar 
in early 1967 

The Statewise distribution of Gramdans, Prakhand Dans and Zila 
Dans is shown in Table 1 given below 

Table 1 

Statewise Distribution of Gramdans, Prakhand-dans and Ziladans 
as on 20-1-1969 


No of 

No of 


No of 

1 Andhra Pradesh 




2 Assam 




3 Bihar 




4 Delhi 




5 Gujarat 




6 Himachal Pradesh 




7 Jammu & Kashmir 




8 Kerala 




9 Madhya Pradesh 




10 Maharashtra 




11 Mysore 




12 Orissa 




13 Punjab & Haryana 




14 Rajasthan 




15 Tamilnadu 




16 Uttar Pradesh 




17. West Bengal 









With this new development the Sarvodaya leaders hope that the move- 
ment can influence the political processes in the districts. State and the 
Nation.® At present the movement is concentrated in Bihar and strives 
to have Bihar Dan. The next logical step talked about is Bharat Dan 
(Gift of India)! 

Wc have attempted to trace the evolution of the movement from its 
origin to the present stage. Our main interest was to highlight the goal 
transformations of the movement. From its objective of collection and 
distribution of land the movement had widened into an attempt to estab- 
lish communitarian or collective settlements to effect radical social changes. 
Faced with the difficulties in this context, the movement had thinned 
down its target in terms of quality and enlarged its scope to facilitate 
a wider geographical coverage. The ultimate aim is to envelope the entire 
Nation in Dan. Against this background, it is interesting to examine how 
Gramdan is actually obtained and how Gramdan villages really function 
and what changes, if any, it has effected. Wc will attempt to do this in 
subsequent chapters. 

Charismatic Traits of the Movement 

Several social scientists 9 characterize the movement and its leadership 
as charismatic and popular writers describe the movement as a “social 
miracle” and refer to its leader, Vinoba, as a “saint” 10 and his achieve- 
ments as “superhuman.” 11 Notwithstanding such labelling of the move- 
ment no systematic attempt is yet made to examine the charismatic traits 
of the movement. We propose to undertake this task in the light of the 
characteristics of charismatic movements listed in Chapter I. Wc have 
already noted above that the movement emerged out of a crisis situation: 
the Telcngana peasant riot. 

The manner in which the first land donation came forth confirms the 
charismatic characteristic of the movement. When the harijan landless 
families had requested him for land, Vinoba assured them that he would 
try his best to obtain the same for them. A meeting of the villagers was 
convened. “Fora minute there was utter silence. Vinoba seemed engrossed 
in deep meditation. Shortly, after, he raised his head and inquired whether 
there were some land holders also in the lot sitting before him.” 12 The 
answer was in affirmative and then he had asked, “If land is not pro- 
vided by the Government or if it takes time, cannot something be done by 
the village people themselves?” Then came the first donation of 100 acres 
of land. “Vinoba passed a sleepless night. He went over the days’ incident 
again and again. He spent the night in prayer. He felt convinced that there 
was God’s hand behind all that and that He wanted to use him as His 
instrument in that work.” 12 Thus the first land donation came forth in 



an atmosphere of awe and meditation, inner inspiration of the donor and 
the faith of the leader in God 

Vinoba’s faith in God is vehement He says “On that day (the day 
of the first land gift) God gave me a sign I meditated on it the whole 
of the following night and ended up by finding out what I had to do 
Without this hint on His part I should never have made up my mind to 
Bhoodan ” 14 This aptly fits in Bittner’s 15 observation that in order to ensure 
the acceptance of the pronouncements of the charismatic leader it needs 
to be shown that he had received his command or message under the 
most unusual circumstances, that he “knows better” thanks to his “unique 
experience ” 

Vinoba’s uttenngs stand testimony to the fact that his is a movement 
operated through the “Gift of the Grace ’ “None except God is the owner 
of land We mortals can only be His children ” 16 He urges people to realize 
that “ God wants this land (India) to make a successful experi- 
ment in a non-violent social and economic revolution ” 17 He asserts that 
“It ( Bhoodan-Gramdan ) is a phenomenon inspired by God ” 18 The “Gift 
of the Grace” so much innate to the charismatic leader is profusely 
acknowledged by Vmoba and conspicuously present in the movement Thus 
the movement derives its inspiration from supra empirical sources 

The difficulty in labelling a leader’s power as charismatic arises due to 
the absence of adequate empirical indices The behaviour of the followers 
do not always indicate the nature of power possessed by the leader Fried- 
land suggests that, knowing that a given leader has no claim to legal or 
traditional authority, it is by intuition that the observer designates his 
authority as charismatic 19 But the reason why we label Vinoba as a charis- 
matic leader is far beyond this, for, as Parsons had pointed out “Charisma 
is not a metaphysical entity but a strictly empirical observable quality 
of men and things in relation to human acts and attitudes ” 20 

Vinoba, the initiator of the movement is viewed as a “saint” by the 
masses Drawing upon the goodness of human nature, moving from village 
to village on foot, dressing eating and behaving like a typical Indian 
Sadhu he operates m a manner which generates tremendous mass appeal 
Vinoba dresses m loin cloth, normally keeps only his waist covered, usually 
lives on five cups of milk a day, when he eats uses banana leaf instead of 
plates, gets up at 4 a m , operates charkha regularly, prays both in the 
morning and evening spends time in meditation and thus leads the most 
simple and disciplined life Vinoba’s appearance, behaviour and conduct 
create awe and respect in men and he is regarded as a ‘holy man* 

The Bhoodan Gramdan movement aims at the total transformation 
of contemporary Indian society While this broad objective is kept ahead 
as a blue-print of its goal, the immediate goal of the movement is to 


re-structure the agrarian society in the country. In fact, the movement 
had emerged as a response to the agrarian unrest, as we have noted in the 
beginning of this Chapter. 

It is important to note that while only rarely revolutionary mo\e- 
ments were initiated to tackle the agrarian unrest, the agrarian problem 
is deep rooted and widespread in India. This is so. inspite of the fact 
that the land reform laws enacted in India since independence “constitute 
the largest body of agrarian legislations passed in such a short a period 
in any country.’’ 21 India became independent only in 1947 and the Bhoo- 
dan-Gramdan movement was started in 1951. It is too unrealistic to expect 
from a new government to make its impact on a deep-seated problem, 
so quickly. But “ terms of their announced aims, the land reforms 
...have by and large failed.. .and the agrarian problem remains basic, 
serious, and deeply rooted.” 22 and “the great wave of land reform in 
India from the agrarian point of view. ..has turned out to be a fairly 
conservative process.” 23 That the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement continues 
to operate in spite of all these legislations goes to indicate that the legisla- 
tive weapon had failed to grapple with the situation and the fact that the 
movement is an alternative approach to tackle the agrarian unrest is 

It is clear that the immediate objective of the movement is economic 
and ameliorative in character. To this extent the charismatic colour 
of the movement is faded. However, it is significant to note here that 
Vinoba insists that the objective of the movement is moral. He asserts: 
“Mine is not so much to provide food to the hungry as is to bring it home 
to the people that before they take their food they must share it with others. 
I want to create an atmosphere of giving in this age or taking so that non- 
possession and co-operation in place of ownership and competition, may 
be the basis of life." 24 Essentially, then, the movement is a “mission" 
and not a mere economic or ameliorative programme. 

Notwithstanding the claim made by the leadership in regard to the 
nature of the movement it is important to know how the collectivity 
views it and what is the motivating influence for which they participate 
in the movement. We will have occasions to demonstiate that most of 
the participants in the movement arc motivated by material benefits. 
This is perhaps inevitable due to the ameliorative programmes of the 

While enlisting the characteristics of the charismatic movement we 
have noted that it should come forward with new ideas. These ideas may 
be new goals or new means to achieve the goals which are hitherto pursued 
through other means. To a large extent the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement 
emerged due to the failure of land reform legislations. The distinctive 



character of the movement is to be found in the means of the mode of 
procedure it employs Though it preaches the maxim ‘land for society,* 
communahzation of land is a notion by no means novel 25 Agrarian 
reforms and institutional innovations are attempted through the mecha- 
nism of law or through violent revolutions, all-through history None 
relied on voluntary gift of land, wealth and intelligence for bringing about 
all sweeping changes in the structure of the society It is the uniqueness 
of the means advocated by Vinoba which adds to the chansmatic appeal 
of the movement 

Our discussion on the nature of Bhoodan Gramdan movement confirms 
its charismatic character It is time to turn to an analysis of the ideology 
and organization of the movement 

The Ideology and Organization of the Moiement 

Darnel Bell 2 ® argues that in the contemporary West there is a rough 
consensus among intellectuals on vital political issues such as the accep- 
tance of a welfare state, the desirability of decentralization of power, 
a system of mixed economy and political pluralism To a large extent 
this consensus is a reaction to the atrocities of the mass society, ushered 
in by urban-industrialism 27 Interestingly enough while intellectual debates 
on ideology is said to be exhausted in contemporary West the new 
nations of Asia and Africa are shaping new ideologies, those of industrial]- 
zation, modernization and nationalism The ideologies of the 19th centuiy 
were umversalistic, humanistic, and fashioned by intellectuals The mass 
ideologies of Asia and Africa are parochial, instrumental, and created by 
political leaders The driving forces of these ideologies were social equality 
and, in the largest sense, freedom The impulsions of new ideologies are 
economic development and national power 28 Matossian 29 makes the 
same point industrially backward countries have two problems (i) the 
need to change traditional institutions and values, and (u) the challenge 
of the modren West Due to the contact with the industrial West, the 
native intelligentsia, mostly Western educated, vote for large scale indus- 
trialization and modernization 

It is against this background that we must try to understand the unique 
nature of Sanodaya ideology which is the basis of the Bhoodan Gramdan 
movement We have no intention to attempt an dlaborate treatment of 
the ideology at this stage We will let its leading proponents speak for 
themselves at the appropriate contexts on different dimensions of the ideo- 
logy Presently we will only attempt a sketch of the ideology m its bare 

Sanodaya attempts to re define Indian society in terms of Varna 
Ashram and Dharma the three basic tenets of Hindu social organization 



The value pattern of Sarwclaya is based on certain cardinal principles 
such as Ahinsa (non-violence), Satya (truth). Aster a (non-accumulation), 
Sarir-Srarm (physical labour), Aswad (regulation of taste), Sanatra 
Bhavc Varjan (total fearlessness), Sarva-DItarma-Samanatvc (equal rever- 
ence for all religions), Swadeshi (using indigenous products), Sparsh 
Bhavana (complete touchability orientation). These values are sought 
to be inculcated through the institution of Dan, defined as equal sharing 
(Santa Vibhagli). The institutions of Bhoodan, Gramdan, Sampattidan, 
Bhudhidan and Jeevandan are already developed and in operation. Those 
subscribing to the Sarvodaya ethic must keep a pot ( Sarvodava-patra ) 
at home to keep contributions in the form of cash or kind to be handed 
over for the maintenance of Sarvodaya workers, who pledge to offer 
their life in service of the people. The movement bases itself on the basic 
ideas of Sarvodaya namely trusteeship, collective ownership and basic 
democracy (Gram Swaraj). 

Sarvodaya aims to evolve a society keeping in line with the genius 
of India on the one hand and on the other it is refen cd to as the ‘Third 
Way’, an attempt to manufacture a Vishwa Manav, a man with world 
loyalty. It is a synthetic ideology which partakes univcrsalistic and human- 
istic principles and in a limited sense parochial, for, the social laboratory' 
in which the man with world loyalty is to be manufactured is village re- 
public, thus orientated to a limited locale in its vital aspects. It disapproves 
the revolution of unbridled rising expectations and ceaselessly emphasizes 
the need for voluntary' restriction of wants. Its commitment to industrializa- 
tion is not unqualified, nay it approves only a minimally industrialized 
society. It docs not vote for an economy of abundance but advocates an 
economy of self-restraint and frugality. Modernization is not rejected 
totally while tradition is accepted partially. It purports to avoid the “evils” 
of mass society and strives for the retention of primary' group relations: 
it hopes to evolve a communitarian society, a society in which the group 
has primacy over the individual. It visualizes a polity where all adult mem- 
bers of the society arc incorporated into the decision making process, 
which is designated as a participating democracy. In order to realize 
the world of its conception it prefers village republics which plan for 
themselves while having tangential dependence on wider territorial units 
encircling it: Districts, States, Nations. The social system visualized 
through Sarvodaya ideology is neither traditional nor modern: its accep- 
tance of the modern or the rejection of the tradition is not total. For want 
of a better term we call the Sarvodaya social order a Civic Socictv.?o 
Thus the Sarvodaya ideology is distinctly different from the prevalent 
ideologies in the new nations. The simultaneous slant given both to 
tradition and modernity attracts both revivalists and modems to its fold. 



The peculiar character of its ideology renders the Bhoodan Gramdan 
movement slightly different from an ideal typical charismatic move 
ment which thrives mainly on the charismatic appeal of the leader So far 
as the movement and its ideology promises a different destination than 
the one officially sponsored or championed by other ideological streams 
it attracts at least some persons who are ideologically orientated and 
this enhances the possibility of pursuing the goal of the movement inde- 
pendent of the charismatic leader 

We have suggested above that an ideal charismatic movement should 
operate without any organization, bureaucracy and “Office " The position 
taken by the leaders of the movement in regard to its organizational 
aspect is proximate to this 

Vinoba pleads for the creation of Swat an Ira JanashakU or the self 
reliant power of the people He believes that the power of the people 
is admittedly superior to that of the State Having rejected the power 
of the State as channeled through Jaw he advocates (a) Vichar Shasan 
or peaceful conversion of people to one’s views, and (b) Kartnttya Vi 
bhanjan or distribution of work among individuals without creating an 
administrative bureaucracy it 

Vichar Shasan implies the readiness to understand other’s point of 
view and to persuade others to accept one’s view points It rules out the 
imposition of ones’ view on others It insists that one should accept a 
viewpoint only after getting convinced of its correctness This position rules 
out the rational legal authority, the instrument of law and coercion in 
the context of change conceived by the movement 32 Kartnttya Vibhanjan 
calls for the investing of power in the community and the abolishing of 
state and its bureaucracy 

Notwithstanding the categonal disapproval of organization and bureau 
cracy, soon after the first donation a “trust” constituting the donor, 
Bhoodan workers and village chiefs was formed to administer the distri- 
bution of land As the movement became widespread the number of 
Bhoodan workers also steadily increased As Bhoodan had widened into 
Gramdan the necessity for several organizations to lookafter the welfare 
of Gramdan villages arose The activities of several villages m a given region 
needed co-ordination and a number of regional local organizations were 
established at the village, district and state levels The activities of the 
movement at the all India level is co ordinated by Akhtl Bharat Sana 
Sc\a Sangh This development confirms our prediction m regard to the 
life-cycle of a charismatic movement 

An organizational base is a pre-requisite for pursuing the programmes 
of the movement However, it reduces the charismatic orientation of the 
movement, resulting in routimzation of charisma In addition to this, 



the problem ol' leadership at the local level is very important in the case 
of the movement as it operates at the grass-root level. While the top-level 
(national) leadership of the movement is charismatic, the local (the dis- 
trict and village level) leadership may be devoid of charismatic attributes. 
Nevertheless, we need to recognize the possibility of vertical dispersion 
of charisma . 33 or charisma through contact as we have pointed out in 
Chapter T. 

In our attempt to examine the characteristics of the Bhoodan-Gramdan 
movement, we find that while the movement is predominantly charismatic 
it has certain non-charismatic traits too. The strong ideological moorings 
and the fairly well-knit organizational base of the movement, we have 
noted, reduces the charismatic content of the movement. Two special 
features of the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement, add to its atypicality as a 
charismatic movement. It is time that we turn to an analysis of these charac- 

Special Features of the Movement 

Unlike other social movements the ideals of Bhoodan-Gramdan move- 
ment can be actualized only if men with diverse, in fact, opposing interests 
simultaneously “participate" in the movement . 34 So far as the entire 
accent of the movement is on voluntary donations (of land, wealth, labour, 
skill, etc.) by the people, the “haves” should “participate” in it for the 
success of the movement. In fact, it is frequently alleged that many donors 
donate only uncultivnblc land and many arc motivated to donate, in order 
to escape the legal measures brought forth to prune the size of their 
holdings. To this extent the haves develop a vested interest in the conti- 
nuance of the movement, for, it helps to shield their interests. The danger 
of the movement becoming a system-maintaining device and the possibi- 
lity of its revolutionary vitality being sapped, looms large in this context. 

The continuance of the movement, it appears, is at least partly due to 
the active connivance and acquiescence of the vested interest forces in 
the society. More than once, Vinoba despaired in the public that the move- 
ment was a failure and he would retire to his Wardha Ashram. But with 
the subsequent injections of official patronage of the government and the 
local congress leaders and landlords, it regained its momentum. The 
official patronage was aimed to confirm its commitment to a socialistic 
pattern of society. The landlords pledge support, for. they despair the 
repetition of Tclcngana and arc afraid of the alternative course that might 
confront them. Frequently Vinoba exhorted people that if they do not give 
voluntarily the alternative would be Communism. Perhaps it may not 
be too vulgar a suggestion that the perpetuation of the movement is made 
possible, to a large extent, due to the combination of the vested interest 


forces and the charismatic character of the movement 

An unanticipated consequence of the simultaneous participation of 
both the haves and have-nots in the movement is to envelop men of diver- 
gent motives and interests in it In order that a movement may succeed 
the constituent elements should share common interests and pursue com- 
mon objectives In the case of Bhoodan-Gramdcm movement the “partici- 
pants” are drawn from diverse and to some extent, groups with inimical 
interests and, therefore, the possibility of goal attainment is likely to be 

Chansma is not only non institutional but also anti institutional The 
association of charismatic movement with the rational legal authority 
(government), will, therefore, reduce the charismatic content of the 

We have referred above to the governmental association and partici- 
pation in the movement So far as the movement’s immediate aim is 
to bring about a radical change in the agrarian relations in the country, 
the official position finds much in common with the movement In addi- 
tion to this, since the movement is based on Sanodaya ideology which is 
derived from Gandhi, to whose ideas the party in power profusely pays 
lip-sympathy, the government feels obliged to associate itself with the 
movement Thirdly, so far as the movement has arisen as a response to 
the failure of land legislations initiated by the government, it cannot 
entirely alienate itself from the movement In fact the government look 
upon the movement as a complementary effort to tackle agrarian problems 
In the final analysis the government “uses” the movement as a legitimizing 
instrument for its pitfalls, as a tension management mechanism, and as a 
diversionaf therapy for the masses 

The official patronage given to the movement and recognition accorded 
to Vinoba Bhave is considerable In 1957 Pandit Nehru, the then Prime 
Minister of India invited Vinoba Bhave to Delhi to get counsel for his 
government on certain vital issues Ministers at the State level invariably 
accompany the team of padayatris when the latter move about in their 
respective States Central ministers approved of the movement by m- 
augutaitng Mi-ladia Sanodaya Cflsferefflew, typarttapatoagiaPt ufojslm 
or by issuing appreciative statements The government also passed special 
legislations to legalize the donations made under the auspices of the move- 
ment Finally, material incentives in the form of special loans and grants 
are given to Gramdan villages All these have led to the stepping up of 
donations, particularly Gramdan donations Both the leaders of the move- 
ment and the government have much in common between the officially 
sponsored Community Development Programme and the Bhoodan-Gram- 
dan movement The officials of the ministry of Community Development 



and Akftil Bharat Sarva Seva Sangli try to work in co-ordination . 55 

For the present purpose the consequences of the governmental asso- 
ciation with the movement is more important than the motivations. An 
important latent function of the governmental association with the move- 
ment is in directing the people’s motivation to material benefits and 
utilitarian purposes. This is antithetical to the interest of a charismatic 
movement. Though the leaders of the movement claim that it is essentially 
a moral movement, we have noted above that the ameliorative programmes 
of the movement reduces its charismatic character. In addition to this, 
the governmental association with the movement and the consequent 
material benefit expectation that the participants develop, results in a 
further erosion of charisma from the movement. 

We have examined the nature of Bhoodan-Gramdan movement so as to 
unfold the change potential it has. We have suggested in the first Chapter 
that a purely charismatic movement is incapable of any sustained change 
process due to its weak ideology and feeble organizational base. 
While we found that the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement possess several 
of the characteristics of a charismatic movement its strong ideological 
moorings and well-knit organizational base may act as change propelling 
forces. Nevertheless these very features of the movement may pose serious 
dilemmas for the actualization of its goals. Because of the simultaneous 
emphasis of Sarvodaya ideology' both on tradition and modernity, the 
persons attracted to its fold may be of divergent backgrounds. This, 
to some extent, is likely to be inimical to the interests of the movement. 
The organizational build up of the movement may facilitate the efficient 
pursuance of its programmes. At the same time, since the movement opera- 
tes at the grass-root level the “quality” of local leadership is very crucial 
for its success. So far as organizational positions obtain at the local 
levels and no specific “qualifications” are prescribed for recruitment to 
these positions, they are likely to be filled by disgruntled, frustrated or 
vested interest elements. The filling up of organizational positions by such 
may check the change process. 

The ameliorative programmes and the governmental association with 
the movement might considerably influence the motivations of the col- 
lectivity for participating in the movement. Many of them may associate 
themselves with the movement only for material benefits. Finally, since 
both the haves and have-nots participate in the movement the consti- 
tuents arc necessarily drawn from different backgrounds. Therefore, it is 
likely that the rich and the poor, the ideologists and the bureaucrats, the 
frustrated and the power-oriented, the revivalist and the modern — all 
seek “shelter” in the movement. The Sarvodaya ideology is diffuse in 
character and each of these groups may interpret and employ it to its 



advantage This is likely to render the movement nebulous, amorphous 
and a shell without any substance Inevitably the movement may become 
incapable of initiating any sustained change process 


'DO Tendulekar, The Mahatma, Bombay, published by Vithalbhai K Jhaveri and 
D G Tendulekar, 1952, Vo! in. pp 362 367 
2 See Suresh Rambhai, Vwoba and His Mission, Kashi, Akhil Bharat Sarva Seva Sangh, 
1954, pp 26-27 

2 For details of Telengana peasant not see. Gene D Overstreet and Marshall Wmd- 
miller. Communism in India , Berkeley, University of California Press, 1959, especially 
pp 246, 266-67 and 300 

4 G Adhikan, Resurgent India, Bombay, Peoples Publishing Home, 1956 
3 For an official version of Communist Party of India see on Telengana, Information 
Document No 7, 1950 (Place not gi\en) and Zamindari-Pohcc Terror m Andhra 
(place and date not given) For an account of Governmental version, See Communist 
Violence in India, New Delhi, Ministry of Home Affairs, 1954 
<It may be interesting to note here that Ramachandra Reddy, the first donor of land 
to Vinoba, is a man of high idealism His two brothers Madusudan Reddy and Narayan 
Karam Reddy teach philosophy in the Osmania University and the former had obtained 
his doctoral degree in the philosophy of Aurobindo Himself a graduate, Ramachandra 
Reddy too is highly influenced by the doctrines of Aurobindo His antagonism for Com- 
munist Party and communists was so much that he contested against Ravi Naryan Reddy 
(his brother-in-law) the famous communist leader (who was also one of the top leaders 
of the Telengana peasant not) in the Third General Election It is indeed interesting 
to probe into the motivation behind Shn Reddy's donating the land his conviction 
that the problem of land can be effectively met through this non-violent approach or his 
hatred for violence as it happened in Telengana and the consequent recalcitrant reaction 
against communists' 2 Or due to his sense of insecurity and despair that the landlords 
will not be allowed to keep more than a specified area of land 7 While we recognize the 
complexity of motivations involved, it is beyond the scope of the present study to pur- 
sue its analysis 

7 For a discussion on this See T K Oomme n, “Problems of Gramdan A Study in 
Rajasthan," Economic Weekly Vol XVII (20), pp 1035-40 and Chapter III 
*hfonihhj Nitw. \s!isr. Htbt}, Sen. S-wok, V-irrwnn,, 

1968, pp 22 23 

®Milton Yinger, “Religious Change and Social Change * in Milton Ymger (ed) 
Religion, Society and the Indnidual, New York, Macmillan Co , 1957, p 305 and M C 
Sekhar, Social Change in India Deccan College, Poona, pp 280-357 
,l2 Daniel P Hoffman, India’s Social Miracle, California, Nature Graph Co, 1961 
"Hallam Tennyson, Samt on March, London, Victor Gollanez, 1955 Also see, H H 
Stevens, “India’s newest samt,” foreward to Hoffman, op cit . p 4 
,2 Suresh Ram, op cit . 1954. p 39 
"Ibid, p 40 

* 4 Lanza Del Vasto, Gandhi to Vinoba Rider and Company, London, 1956, p 85 


,? Egon Bittner, “Radicalism and the Organization of Radical Movement," American 
Sociological Review, Vo!. 28(6). 1963. pp. 936-7. 

"'Hoffman, op. cil., p. 46. 

11 Ibid., p. 24. 

|fl Surcsh Ram, op. cit., p. 44. 

’’W.H. Fricdland, “For a Sociological concept of Charisma," Social Forces, Vol. 
43(1), J964, p. 22. 

*°Taccol Parsons, Structure of Social Action, The Free Press of Glencoe, Illinois, 
1940, pp. 668-69. 

Daniel and Alice Thorner, Land and Labour in India. Bombay. Asia Ptiblkhinc House, 
1962, p. 63. 

2211, id., p. 5. 

13 Ibid.. p. 3. That the implementation of the enacted land legislations is ineffective, 
is a point made by other students of agrarian reforms India, also See for instance, M.L. 
Dantwala. “Prospects and Problems of Land Reform in India." Economic Development 
and Cultural Change, Vol. 6(1), 1957, pp. 3-11. 

J4 Surcsh Rambhai, Progress of a Pilgrimage, Kashi, Akhil Bharat Sarve Sc\a Sangh, 
1958, p. 43. 

*?Of the several reformers who have argued for agrarian socialism and for the maxim 
‘land for society' Henry George is the most outstanding. See his Progress and Poverty, 
New York, The Modem Library, 1879. Leo Tolstoy, John Ruskin and Thomas Paine 
maintained similar conceptions about the ownership in land. The Fabians in the early 
phase, upheld, “public property in land is the basic economic condition of socialism"— 
See Bemad Shah Fabian Eassays, London, Allen and Unwin, 194S, (Jubilee edition), 
p. 24. 

-^Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology, Illinois. The Free Press of Glcnco, 1960. p. 373. 

*Vbid., pp. 21-36. 

Ibid., p. 373. 

- 5 M. Matossian. “Ideologies of delayed industrialization,” Economic Development 
and Cultural Change, Vol. VI (2), I95S, pp. 217-18. 

"•Following the lead given by Edward Shils, Almond and Verba had defined civic 
culture, which “ neither traditional nor modern but partaking of both; a pluralistic 
culture based on communication and persuasion, a culture of consensus and diversity, 
a culture that permitted change but moderated it.” Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney 
Verba, The Civic Culture, Princcston, Princcston University Press. 1963, p. 8. We have 
described the Sarvodaya social order almost in similar vein. It is keeping these considera- 
tions in mind that we propose the term civic society to refer to the Sarvodaya social order. 

3>Suresh Rambhai, op. cit., 1958, p. 5. 

—Not withstanding the disapproval or very cautious approval of law as an instrument 
of social change by Sarvodaya leaders several legislations have been passed to accelerate 
the movement, though antithetical to the very spirit of a charismatic movement. How- 
ever, exclusive dependence on voluntaristic action without introducing reinforcement 
mechanisms such as law, seem to be as much dangerous as the introduction of law with- 
out the creation of appropriate social climate. Though interesting this point is a diversion 
from our argument and hence not pursued further. 

JJShils argues that the dispersion of charisma from the political and religious segments 
to the economic segment is a pre-requisite for economic growth. Obviously the reference 
is to horizontal dispersion. We suggest that vertical dispersion of charisma is equally 
important. In the present context vertical dispersion is viewed as a pre-requisite for the 
effectiveness of charismatic leadership. See. Edward Shils, “The concentration and dis- 



pcrsion of charisma Their bearing on economic policy in under-developed countries," 
World Politics Vol II (I), 1958, pp 1*19 

3 4 Vmoba is aware of this problem He says “If I can be the agent of both the nch 
and poor I shall be gl3d For the poor I am striving to win rights For the rich I am 
striving to win moral developments ” See, H Tennyson, op cit , p 69 
35For details, see, Gramdan Movement Planning Commission, Government of India, 
New Delhi 1964 


The Study Design 

In order to understand the nature of social change brought about by 
Bhoodan-Gramdan movement in contemporary India, we need to study 
the operation of the movement in a specific empirical situation. Our 
empirical enquiry is confined to Rajasthan, one of the States in India. 
In the present chapter we will describe the scope of the study, the nature 
of the Universe studied, the techniques used for data collection, the 
problem of sampling, etc. 

The movement had started spreading soon after its initiation in 1951. 
Both Bhoodan and Gramdan donations were received by the workers 
of the movement in Rajasthan too. The Rajasthan Bhoodan Yajna Board 
was constituted under the Rajasthan Bhoodan Yajna Act passed by the 
State Assembly in 1954. The Rajasthan Gramdan Act was passed in 1960. 
The legal requirements, for a village to be called Gramdan, according to 
the Act, are: (1) that not less than 51 per cent of the total extent of lands 
under private ownership in that village should be donated; (2) that the 
donors should constitute at least 80 per cent of the total number of persons 
owning land and residing in the village; and (3) that not less than 75 per 
cent of adult persons residing in the village should have declared, in the 
prescribed form and manner, 1 their desire to participate in the Gramdan 
community. This means there can be total Gramdan (when the entire 
population of a village give all their lands in possession in that village 
in dan) or partial Gramdan (when only the minimum required population 
subscribe to Gramdan). 

While Bhoodan is simple donation of land to a centra! pool from where 
it will be distributed to the landless, Gramdan is a concept of a total way 
of life which requires a complete overhauling of society. Thus Gramdan 
addresses itself to all-embracing and total change of the system and is 
wedded to the creation of a non-violent social order. We have studied 
a few Gramdan villages in order to understand the nature and extent of 
social change brought about by the movement. Needless to say our enquiry- 
needs to be focused on certain specific areas keeping in mind the objec- 
tives of the movement. 


The Scope of the Stud} 

Without adequate and appropriate communication of ideas no change 
process can be initiated Insufficient or fraudulent communication may 
motivate social actors in the wrong direction Therefore, it is important 
to know whether the people of Gramdan villages have a correct under- 
standing of the objectives of the movement and why they have donated 
their village in gift 

The movement visualizes to evolve an economy based on non-exploita- 
tion (asteya) The pattern recommended is agro industrial village com- 
munities Far reaching agrarian reforms such as removal of landlessness, 
collective or group farming, re distribution of land, etc are visualized 
by the movement In order to facilitate the sustenance of changes visualized 
in land ownership and farming pattern the multipurpose co-operative 
society, with compulsory membership for all households is advocated 
Along with the changes in the agrarian pattern introduction of cottage 
industries such as Charkha (hand operated spinning machine), oil-seed 
pressing, handlooms, etc too are recommended to evolve a stable eco- 
nomy Thus, basic economic changes are visualized by the movement and 
hence our enquiry will focus on this area in considerable detail 

The institutionalization of change m a society calls for the restructuring 
of existing orgamzations and/or the introduction of new organizational 
structures Several orgamzations are being planted in Gramdan villages 
for the realization of the goals of the movement For instance, the statutory 
Gram Panchayat (local self government) is to be replaced by Gram Sabha 
(village assembly) constituted by the total adult population in the village 
The Gram Panchayat caters to a population larger than that in a village and 
the decision-making body is a small group of peoples’ representatives 
In contradistinction to this, Gram Sabha is exclusive to one village and 
caters for a smaller population unit, the underlying assumption being 
that such an arrangement facilitates the participation of the entire village 
population in the decision-making process The Gram Sabha is vested 
with executive, judicial and legislative functions and powers It is hoped 
that planning is undertaken at the village level The polity is to be governed 
not 6y the spirit of competition but through the principle of cooperation 
and consensus — power orientation is to be replaced by service mentality 
Obviously an examination of the organizational innovations attempted 
constitute an important part of our study 

While the Sanodaya leadership is invested with the role of initial 
inculcation of changes in Gramdan villages the village leaders are expected 
to carry forward the process of change initiated by external agents A 
service orientated, as against power-onentated, leadership committed 
to Sanodaya ideology is expected to emerge to accelerate the processes 


of change. We will study the nature of local Sarrodava leadership and 
village leadership both of which are crucial for the institutionalization 
of change. 

The social structure and human behaviour in a Gramdan village is to 
be based on four cardinal values: co-operation, non-violence, non- 
exploitation and socio-economic equality. Changes in the normative 
structure and at the value-orientation level are to be brought about 
through the propagation of Sarrodava ideology'. Naturally it is necessary 
to know the degree of internalization of Sarrodava ideology by the Gram- 
dan population. 

The Region of the Study 

Having defined the scope of the study it is necessary to state the pro- 
cedure we propose to follow. In our attempt to assess the role of any 
single factor (here a charismatic movement) contributing to change 
we should be in a position to isolate the impact of the factor under con- 
sideration. Keeping this point in mind vve have studied both Gramdan 
(experimental) and non- Gramdan (control) villages and attempted a com- 
parative analysis of relevant aspects. 

Rajasthan, the State in which the empirical enquiry was undertaken, 
can be broadly divided into three regions 2 based on certain social, 
ecological and economic factors. These regions are: 

1. The Eastern Plain: Coterminous with the erstwhile Ajmer division 
covering 8 districts, with 78.2 per cent rural population and 6.906 

2. The Dry Area: Including the great Thar desert spread broadly across 
the former Jodhpur and Bikaner revenue divisions covering 10 dis- 
tricts. The Dry' Area has only 5,185 villages but SI. 2 per cent rural 

3. Southern Highland: Incorporating the Kota and Udaipur divisions 
with 8 districts. With 8,887 villages this region is the most rural having 
88.7 per cent of its population living in villages. 

While the average area of a village in Rajasthan is 6.28 sq. miles the 
villages from Dry Area are far bigger averaging 24 sq. miles each. The 
considerable difference in the size of the village between the dry and other 
areas is naturally reflected in the size of holding too. 

The Plain Area has a high density of population with small land holdings. 
Due to the relative frequency of rain or availability of irrigation water it 
is a double crop area. The Dry Area is featured by relative scarcity of rain 
and irrigation facilities and the consequent frequency of famine. The chief 
inhabitants of both Plain and Dry Areas are*caste-Hindus. The High-land 
Area is inhabited mainly by a tribe (the Bhils). The availability of water 



m this region (well irrigated or rain) makes it possible to cultivate two 
crops per year The land holdings are smaller as in the case of Plain Area 

There is no significant difference between the Highland and Plain 
Areas in regard to land holdings, cropping pattern or irrigation facilities 
However, villages from both these Areas are included in the sample due 
to their differences in social structure and culture (tribe and peasant) 
On the other hand, the Plain and Dry Areas have similar social structural 
characteristics (caste Hindu) but notable differences in the size of land 
holdings and ecological conditions This prompted us to include the Dry 
Area as a contrast to other Areas Based on the above considerations both 
experimental and control villages representing the three Areas were selected 

It is necessary at this stage to examine the typicality of the villages 
studied In order to understand this an analysis of the nature and type 
of Gratndan villages is inevitable The Gramdan villages are atypical in 
regard to size by land, households and population both at the all India 
and at the Rajasthan level (See Tables 5 and 6 in appendix) This' 
discovery has led us to an inquiry into the causes for atypicality Of 
the 234 Gramdan villages in Rajasthan m 1964, 65 were brought under 
the Rajasthan Gramdan Act, 1960 at the time of our investigation The 
near absence of any reliable data regarding the villages which are not 
brought under the Act compel us to limit our analysis to the ‘declared 
cases * 

Table 2 (on p 49) shows that only 10 per cent of Gramdan 
villages own more than 1000 areas of land and the land owned by 88 5 
per cent villages is as little as 200 acres or less Similarly, only 4 6 per 
cent of Gramdan villages have more than 100 households, and as many 
as 50 8 per cent are constituted of 25 households or less Again, only 6 2 
per cent villages have a population over 500 and as many as 33 8 per cent 
villages have a population of 100 or less 

Table 3 (on p 50) gives information on types of Gramdan villages 
based on social structure and origin Of the 65 villages, 52 3 per cent 
are inhabited exclusively by a tribe, 6 2 per cent are predominantly so, 
18 5 per cent villages are single-caste ones, while 7 7 per cent villages 
have only two caste groups However, 15 4 per cent villages have three 
or more caste groups It may, therefore, be inferred that Gramdan villages 
are, socially, less complex 

Table 3 also explains how Gramdan villages emerged While 46 2 per 
cent villages are brought under the Act without any change in their struc- 
ture and composition, 41 5 per cent villages are but hamlets which have 
been conferred the status of Gramdan villages and 12 3 per cent villages 
are new colonies established on land donated either by government or by 
private philanthropists 

Size of Cramdan Villages in Rajasthan 



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We had to select at least three villages representing the three broad 
divisions of Rajasthan But our data has unfolded that over 50 per cent 
of Gramdan villages are tribal villages Moreover, the study of the origin 
of Gramdan villages revealed that one out of every eight villages js a 
newly established colony Keeping these points in mind we have decided 
to study two tribal and two caste-Hindu villages, one of the tnbal villages 
being a newly established colony thereby giving representation to this 
category of villages too 

Classified by Caste 

Types of Gramdan Villages 

Classified by Origin 


Percentage of 


Percentage of n/ 

villages in the 

(ages in the 



Uni caste 

18 5 

Revenue villages'] 

brought under the ' 
Act as they were J 

|. 46 2 



Hamlets conferred"] 
the status of villages 1 
under the Act J 

^ 41 5 



New colonies brought - 
under the Act 

) 123 

Castes ATnbcs 


Tribes / 

52 3 





The problem of selecting the villages still remained, the recognition of 
the above-mentioned factors notwithstanding Generally speaking a 
typical Rajasthan village has a number of parts attached to the village- 
core or the central village The definition of the village for thejjurposes 
of the Rajasthan Gramdan Act f96U, was the same as given in the Rajas- 
than Land Revenue Act 1956, According to this, parts of villages whether 
called hamlet, ‘Thok\ ‘Patti’, ‘Dham’, 'Pura\ *Fala\ ‘Wada’ or otherwise 
are included in the village and are not considered as separate units How- 
ever, the emergence of Gramdan villages resulted in the bifurcation of 
several revenue villages As many as 41 5 per cent Gramdan villages are 
such hamlets (This incidentally is the main reason for the atypicality 
of Gramdan villages) In order to make the position clearer we note the 



types and nature of the cases involved below: 

(1) Cases where ail the hamlets have been given status of revenue 
villages separately under the Rajasthan Gramdan Act and the village 
core has remained outside the fold of Granulan. 

(2) Cases where some of, the hamlets and the village-core have been 
brought under the Act as new separate revenue villages and the remain- 
ing hamlets have been left out. 

(3) Cases where only certain hamlets have been brought under the Act 
and rendered revenue units while the village core and ihe remaining 
hamlets have continued as they are. 

(4) Cases where all the hamlets and the village-core have been brought 
under the Act not as one unit but as several separate revenue villages. 

Two reasons dissuaded us to include these hamlets in our sample: 
(i) they are too small, usually with 25 or less households, and (ii) the bi- 
furcation has invariably affected their social-historical background and 
continuity. 3 Both these factors have rendered them incomparable with 
control cases, as we want to study similar villages (experimental and con- 
trol), in size and social structure. 

It may also be noted that only 15 per cent of the Gramdan villages are 
multicaste villages, the remaining caste-Hindu villages being either uni- 
caste, bi-caste or mixed (caste and tribe) villages. The typical Indian village 
is a multi-caste village and hence we have selected only such villages for 
our study. However, in all the villages studied (experimental and control) 
the number or caste groups are less than ten. The tribal villages studied 
are exclusively inhabited by the tribe. This we hope would offer another 
basis for comparison [homogeneous (tribal) versus heterogeneous (caste- 
Hindu) villages]. 

The purpose of discussing the characteristics of Gramdan villages 
is not only to show the representativeness of the cases studied but also 
to unfold the limitations of the sample. We have left out atypical groups 
of villages by size, origin and social characteristics. 

An additional information which adds to the bias of the sample but 
meaningful in the wider context of the study should be noted here. Our 
objective is to assess the impact of Bhoodan-Gramdan movement on con- 
temporary Indian society. Keeping this point in view we thought it would 
be better if we study the “successful cases” of Gramdan villages. If the 
initiators and propagators of the movement believe that they have attained 
“success”, or are well on the road to achieve it in a few villages, an under- 
standing of the conditions which facilitated success becomes crucial. 
Because, if social changes are coming about in the desired direction 
in a particular case, all that is needed is to create the same conditions 
in other cases too (other things being equal) in order to accelerate the 



change process Through our discussion with the Sanodaya workers at 
district and State level we have obtained a list of ‘successful cases’ of 
Gramdan villages and all the four villages selected for our study are 
such cases 

Thus the Gramdan villages are selected keeping in mind a number of 
criteria regional variations, size factor, the nature of social structure 
the background of origin and the degree of success 

Villages Studied 

It has already been pointed out that we propose to make a comparative 
study of Gramdan and non -Gramdan villages While four Gramdan vil 
lages (experimental cases) are selected, only three non-Gramdan (control 
cases) villages are included in the study The control villages are from 
the three different Areas m Rajasthan (Since newly established colonies 
were not available in the control group it was not necessary to study 
a fourth non -Gramdan village) Both the control and experimental cases 
are selected from the same district, talukas and panchay ats usually the 
distance between them being five to ten miles The selection of both the 
experimental and control cases from the same administrative units was 
intended to neutralize the impact of programmes like Community Deve 
lopment, Panchayati Raj etc Care was also taken to ensure similarity 
between experimental and control villages in regard to land holding pattern, 
size of population and social structural features The relevant facts are 
presented in Table 4 on page 53 

The reason for selecting Gramdan villages from the four districts Jai- 
pur, Nagaur, Dungarpur and Banswara needs to be made clear here As is 
evident from our data (see Table 6 in appendix), of the 65 Gramdan 
villages brought under the Rajasthan Gramdan Act 1960, 62 are distributed 
in five districts Naturally we had to select our cases from these ‘Gramdan 
pockets’ Of the five districts with the concentration of Gramdan villages 
three (Dungarpur, Banswara and Chittor) are from Southern Highland 
We have selected two villages from the Highland region belonging to 
Dungarpur and Banswara The remaining two villages are selected from 
Jaipur (Plain Area) and Nagaur (Dry Area) districts 

The four Gramdan villages studied had 200 households in all and the 
three non Gramdan villages had 218 households, of which 188 and 207 
heads of the households were interviewed from the Gramdan and non- 
Gramdan villages respectively The remaining interviewees could not be 
contacted either because they were away from the villages at the time 
of our investigation or because they were inaccessible (eg, Rajput 
women who observe purdah) 

While comparisons at all relevant points between the experimental and 4 






control villages are attempted, discussion on certain aspects is confined 
to the experimental cases Occasionally references to specific experimental 
villages too need to be made So we identify the Gramdan villages by 
the following names Idanpura (Plain Area), Sukpura (Dry Area), 
Raghupura and Bhoodanpura (Highland Area) 

Idanpura has 8 caste groups The Ahirs are the numerically superior 
group with a population of 184, that is, more than 50 per cent of the total 
population of the village Though numerically insignificant (with a popu- 
lation of 38) the Rajputs are important in the village, being the erstwhile 
jagirdars and the landed aristocracy Only 10 per cent of the 165 adults 
of Idanpura are literates Twenty-two or 43 per cent of households are 
nuclear, the remaining 57 per cent being joint in one way or the other 

Of the six castes in Sukpura, Jats are the leading group with 68 
per cent of the population The Rajputs continue to be significant 
despite their numerical inferiority due to the erstwhile power positions 
they occupied Only 12 per cent of Sukpura’s 194 adults are literate Fifty- 
eight per cent of Sukpura households are joint while the remaining 42 
per cent nuclear 

Raghupura being a tribal village the social divisions are based on clans 
Of the four clans in the village, Kotedias are the leading group with 240 
or 77 per cent of the 312 population the village has Thirty-two per cent 
of Raghupura’s adults are literates Only 30 per cent of households in 
Raghupura are joint 

Bhoodanpura is a newly established colony drawing its population 
from several neighbouring villages The Bhoodanpura population is 
constituted by 8 different clans, of which none has numerical or economic 
superiority over others Sixty-six per cent of the 65 adults in Bhoodanpura 
are literates All the households in Bhoodanpura are nuclear 

Techniques of Data Collection 

The substantive content of a study and the nature of social system we 
are subjecting to analysis influence the types of techniques we employ 
to collect data 4 The data for the present study is collected from Indian 
villages The nature of the rural social system influenced the mode of 
collecting data and the techniques employed therein 

An interview schedule was administered to all the available and accessible 
heads of the households in the seven villages at the time of our mvestiga 
tion However, we found this technique as an inadequate one to collect 
data on several crucial aspects, for instance, the structure and functioning 
of village factions In such cases informal interviews, observation, etc 
are found to be very rewarding The informal interviews are usually con 
fined to ‘key informants’ A key informant is a person who can supply 



vital information regarding the problem under investigation. Different 
key informants arc interviewed to secure different types or information. 
Thus, in order to understand the historical background-animosities, 
alliances, etc. of village -factions, the aged are found to be more useful 
whereas the youth arc found to be more reliable in reporting the current 

Records of several organisations at the village, panchayat, tchsil, 
district and State-level were combed and very useful data collected. Parti- 
cularly relevant were the records of the Revenue and Land Settlement 
departments, Co-operative Societies, Gram Sahhas, Gram Panchayats , 
etc., for the present study. 

Discussions with the Sarvodaya workers and the personnel of the deve- 
lopmental programmes at the State, district and village levels threw up 
valuable information and insights. The interviews with Sarvodaya personnel 
at all levels helped knowing their background and assessing the problems 
the movement faces. 

The study thus draws upon both quantitative and qualitative data and 
tries to use them in a suitable manner to help developing an adequate 
understanding and proper perspective about the problem at hand. 


•The donors arc required to record tlicir willingness in a prescribed form, Gramdan 
Patrika and submit it to revenue officials. The decision of the donors to accept Gramdan 
community life and the implications therein is to be communicated to the entire villagers 
and complaints and objections entertained within a period of one month, 

-Tli is divirion of the State into three distinct regions is adopted by the Evaluation 
Organization, Government of Rajasthan for several studies. For example sec. A Report 
on the Pmtehayai Elections in Rajasthan. I960. Evaluation Organization, Government 
of Rajasthan, Jaipur, 1961. 

-'Notwithstanding the territorial separation between the hamlets and the villagc-corc 
the latter with its temples, shops, Panchayat-phars and other common social centres 
offer sufficient opportunity for the members of the entire village community to interact 
vv ith considerable frequency. This results in developing a sense of belonging to the village. 
This social historical background has been adversely affected by the emergence of seve- 
ral Gramdan villages which were bifurcated from the old revenue villages. 

4 For a detailed discussion on this point, see T.K. Oommen, “Data Collection Tech- 
niques; The Case of Sociology and Social Anthropology". Economic and Political 
Weekly, May 10, 1969. pp, S09-15. 

Cramdan Villages — AH India Position in 1961 

Total No of No of Cramdan Average Acreage of Land Average No of Households 
ullages ullages per village per ullage 




:ha! Pradesh 10,438 4 58 15 NA 23 2 NA 

India 567,338 4 640 1249 1 148 1* 121 5 18 8 

All India general averages have been worked out on the basis of 196! Census data and the All India Gramlan averages 
jeen worked out on the basts of the data supplied by the Secretary, Akhil Bharat Sarva Seva Sangh, Kashi 
"iu & Kashmir, Madras, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, excluded for working out the average 

Gramdan Villages in Rajasthan (1964) 


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Communication and Motivation: 
Prerequisites of Change 

If a movement is to realise the goals it upholds, it needs to communicate 
the relevant ideas to the appropriate audience in order to motivate them to 
“join” the movement Three important aspects are mterwined in the pro 
cess of communication who communicates 7 What is communicated 1 
How are the ideas communicated 7 The acceptance or rejection of ideas 
by the audience, to a large extent, particularly in a traditional society, 
depends upon the “prestige” of the communicator in the collectivity 
However, this does not mean that any idea can be sold if a person with 
adequate locus stanch is the agent of communication The content of com- 
munication is equally important If the values advocated are radically 
different from those existing m the society it is very unlikely that those 
ideas are accepted by a majority of the people Finally, the media of com 
mumcation should be befitting to the intellectual and educational level 
of the audience When all these factors conjointly operate, the comtnunica 
tion is likely to be effective and the audience may be motivated to accept 
the ideas put forward Once the social actors accept the ideas advo 
cated, the translation of these into behaviour may be brought about with 
relative ease 

Bhoodan-Gramdan movement seeks to bring about social change through 
the injection of its ideology Operating in rural India with a predominantly 
illiterate populace Vinoba Bhave, had adopted the direct contact method 
Walking from village to village* ( Padayatra ) in the tradition of the typical 
Indian Sadhu Vinoba preaches the need to evolve a non violent social 
order, an initial step of which is communal ownership in property In 
addition to the Padayatras undertaken by Vinoba and hts followers in 
different parts of the country, there are regular publications 2 which pro 
pagate the baste ideas and report the growth of the movement Moreover, 
the general progress of the movement is reported in the national press 
and / 6ccasionaIly reviewed by the All India Radio But, by far the chief 
means of communication in persuading the villagers to donate their 
land is oral communication and direct contact The present chapter will 


attempt an analysts of the channels of communication which brought the 
ideas of Gramdan to the villages under study and the factors which in- 
fluenced the villagers to accept the proposal of donating their village in 
gift, and the implications thereof. 

Notwithstanding the national spread of the movement and the “pro- 
gress” it registered since 1951. none or the villages in our sample came to 
know of the movement directly through the press. It may be noted here 
that 68 per cent of the population in these villages is illiterate and 24 
per cent barely literate; only 8 per cent being educated up to the primary 
school (Vth Vernacular) level or more, the last category being the only 
one for which the printed medium is functional. In none of the villages 
newspapers or Sarvodava publications are regularly received. Thus it is 
either through the Sarvodaya w'orkers or through the village leaders 
that they came to know of the movement. The initial exposition to the 
movement came about in different ways in these villages. We will discuss 
the details in each of these eases. 


In Idanpura the information regarding the movement was spread 
through ‘Opinion leaders’. 3 The chief ( patcl ) of the village and the eldest 
son of the erstwhile landlord ( Jagirdar ). both of whom were acclaimed 
as ‘leaders’ of the village had gone to meet the tchsildar (the revenue officer 
between the District Collector and the patwari — village official) to discuss 
certain problems of their village. A Sarvodaya worker was introduced 
to them by the tchsildar and the former started talking to the village leaders 
about Sarvodaya ideology and suggested that Gramdan was a cure for 
the ills they face in the village. Influenced by the arguments put forward 
by the Sarvodaya worker the village leaders readily extended an invitation 
to him to visit their village, to which the former responded within a few 
days. After reaching the village the leaders told their friends regarding the 
new movement and the imminent visit of the Sarvodaya worker. After a 
few weeks a camp was organised in the village for three days by the Sar- 
vodaya workers in which several State and district level Sarvodaya leaders 
delivered talks and conducted classes. Attracted by the assurances given 
by these leaders and impressed by the possibilities unfolded to them through 
Gramdan the villagers decided to donate their village in gift. 


The initial exposure of Sukpura to the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement 
and its ideology came through the usual propaganda mechanism of the 
movement namely padayalra. The Zilla Sarvodaya Mandal ( District Sar- 
vodaya Committee) of Nagaur. under which the village is located, had 


undertaken a padayaira to collect land and village gifts The padayatru 
(those who undertake the padayaira) had a halt at Sukpura and talked 
to the villagers on the Gramdan ideology The villagers consented to 
consider the matter which was later pursued by Sanoda\a workers and 
the village was subsequently donated 


In Raghupura the programme of ‘constructive work’ was started as 
early as 1935 by Gandhian workers Being a tribal village ameliorative 
measures have been undertaken in this village by the high caste Hindus 
Even before the spread of the B/ioodan-Grantdan movement the “cons- 
tructive workers” were trying to familiarize the villagers with the Sano- 
daya ideology Inspite of the relatively long tradition of constructive 
work in the village the caste-Hindu workers did not succeed in persuading 
the villagers to donate their land without involving an adnasi (tribal) 
constructive worker Vmoba visited the village when he was on padayaira 
in Rajasthan and formally declared Raghupura as a Gramdan village 


Bhoodanpura was a newly established colony to settle a group of land- 
less tribals Here the villagers were recipients of land and not donors 
and hence the issue of persuading them to accept Gramdan did not arise 
However* right from the inception of the colony Sanodaya workers 
were closely associated with the settlement and the village was regarded 
as a Gramdan village, the land being distributed more or less equally among 
the settlers 

The above description clearly shows that while the flow of ideas into 
the four villages took place in different manner, in all cases the commumca 
tion was oral It is instructive to note at this stage the particular sources 
through which the villagers in general came to know of the movement 
and its ideology All the heads of households in Gramdan villages in our 
sample were interviewed to elicit this information 

The Agents of Communication 

All the respondents (heads of the households) knew that theirs was a 
Gramdan village 4 , 67 5 per cent of the interviewees reported that they 
knew of the movement through the Sanodaya workers and the remain 
ing 32 5 per cent knew of it through ullage leaders All the interviewees 
in tribal villages had reported that the source of their knowledge was 
Sanodaya workers whereas only 41 percent of the interviewees from 
caste-Hindu villages reported so, the remaining 59 per cent having known 
about the movement from the leaders of their village Thus the agents 


of communication were exclusively external in tribal villages while the 
role played by internal agents was dominant in caste-! Jindu villages. 
Generally speaking, the role of Sarvodaya workers .was fairly significant 
in the initial stage of communication, in all the villages. 

We have noted the limitation of the printed medium in the context of 
Rural India and suggested that oral communication is the most suited 
method. However, for oral communication to be effective in Indian villages, 
it should be informal and operate in the context of intimate inter-personal 
and/or individual-group interaction. Notwithstanding the ritualistic 
and routine padayatra and propaganda speeches made to popularize the 
movement much of the communication at the grass root level was done 
in an informal and instantaneous manner by the Sarvadava workers or 
by the village leaders. It was noted that the knowledge about the movement 
was fairly well percolated in the Gramdan villages studied and the mode 
of communication adopted was suitable to the intellectual level of the 
audience. However, this did not ensure an adequate understanding about 
the initiator and the basic objectives of the movement. 

The Knowledge and Image about Virioba 

That the communication was inadequate, despite the apparent suitability 
of the medium, was made clear by the fact that 55 per cent of the heads 
of households, did not know who had initiated the movement. Only 28 
percent of the interviewees knew for certain that it was Vinoba Bhavc 
who had started the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement. 5 However, 17 per 
cent of the respondents had vague recollections about Vinoba as revealed 
through remarks like, “I know, it was a saint who had started this move- 
ment,” or ‘‘I know, Gramdan was started by the saint who had come 
to such and such a place in 195S", etc. 

Our data reveals that the dissemination of information was more in 
those villages where the agents of communication were external. As has 
been noted above, the Sarvodaya workers were the sole agents of communi- 
cation in tribal villages and 40 per cent of the respondents in these villages 
knew that Vinoba was the initiator of the movement. As compared to 
this, only 19 per cent of the respondents from castc-Hindu villages, 
where the role of Sarvodaya workers as agents of communication was less 
important, knew of Vinoba Bhavc. This would suggest that ‘opinion 
leaders' in Indian villages do not communicate freely the ideas they receive. 
The basic structure of the Indian village society demands that communica- 
tion should be confined to persons within a given group, say, kin-group, 
sub-caste, faction, etc. It could be also that opinion leaders do not think 
it necessary to communicate ideas to Tom, Dick and Harry. A process 
of exclusion and inclusion based on age, caste, kinship, residential 



clusterings, etc is well m operation tn the context of communication also 
Thts derivation is reinforced by the fact that those who knew of Vinoba 
Bhave, from caste Hindu villages, were mostly upper castes While 44 per 
cent of the upper caste (the twice bom) respondents knew of Vmoba,none 
of the respondents from lower castes (untouchables) have heard of him 
It is very significant to bear in mind that in all the villages the ideas re- 
garding the movement reached through local Sanodaya or village leaders 
Excepting Raghupura, Vinoba did not even visit any of the villages and 
the villagers have but scant ideas regarding him Thus, Vinoba remains 
in the smoke-screen as far as the majority of Gramdan villagers are con 
cerned Inspite of this, however, they have great respect for him 

AH the respondents who knew Vinoba or who have had vague recollcc 
Dons of him pictured him as a “saint” or holyman with divine powers 
This image of Vinoba Bhave was instrumental in the acceleration and 
the acceptance of the movement by the rural populace The tremendous 
respect with which the Indian looks upon a Sanyasin (holyman) helps him 
to endear and respect a person in the same garb appearing in any scene 
of activity As will be shown later (see Chapter VII) the image 
of an ideal political leader that rural Indians have too is that of a saintly 
person, a charismatic, which is in congruence with the image created by 
Vinoba Bhave The charismatic appeal which is uppermost in the case 
of a charismatic movement is thus present in the case of Bhoodan Gramdan 
movement Howe\er, this appeal is not always imported directly by 
Vinoba, but carried downward through local leaders 

y. 3- \jl. \on Sy 

The meaning of Gramdan 

The effectiveness of communication in the ultimate analysis depends 
on the understanding and acceptance of the ideas communicated 
The answers to the question, “What do you understand by GramdanV 
revealed that one out of every three respondents did not have any idea 
of the objectives of the movement while the remaining had varied concep- 
tions regard 3iuit 

Twenty-sevan per cent of the interviewees thought that it was a pro- 
gramme for land re distribution and economic development, implying 
that the movement aims at economic amelioration and progress While 
such aims are accepted as initial measures the leaders of the movement 
are very vocal and categorical in stressing that these immediate objectives 
are absolutely secondary in significance Twelve per cent of the respondents 
thought that Gramdan was an attempt to render the villages as Self-govern 
ing units While self-gos eminent is an important objective of Gramdan 
this is \ jewed only as an opportunity offered to the individual to serve 
the community (see Chapter VI) Gramdan was understood as cooperative 

University Central Library. 


life by 20 per cent of the respondents. This approximates the objective 
upheld by the leaders of the movement. Only 3 per cent of interviewees 
understood the meaning of G ratmlan as defined by Vinoba Bhave. that is, 
Sam Vihhag or equal sharing. Thus, of the 68 per cent of respondents who 
had some understanding of Gramdan, only a negligible segment knew for 
certain the ultimate objective of the movement. As has been noted above, 
since the local leaders act as interpreters of the ideas propounded by the 
charismatic leader, the possibility of distortion cannot be ruled out. 
Whatever may be the reasons for mistaken notions, it is evident from our 
data that only a very negligible minority understood the meaning of 
Gramdan as defined by Vinoba. 

We have argued above that the medium of communication employed 
by the Bhoodan-Granulan movement to propagate its ideas was suited to 
the environment in which it was operating. But inspite of this, the under- 
standing of the meaning of Gramdan is inadequate. The point we want 
to make is that an effective medium is a necessary condition but not a 
sufficient one for the proper percolation of ideas. The time span of inter- 
action between the communicator and the audience seems very significant 
to sustain the interest of the latter in the ideas put forward by the agent of 
communication. We have referred to the modus operandi in propagating 
the ideas of the movement, namely padayaira, which is suited to the genius 
of the people. But the time span of interaction between the agents of com- 
munication and the people is negligible so as the latter may carefully 
consider the pros and cons of accepting such a thorough-going and all- 
sweeping change. As has been noted above, the over-all impression that 
Vinoba creates in the mind of the public is that of a charismafic personality 
and they offer donations often moved by his charismatic appeal, usually 
without know'ing the implications of their action. This is a major weakness 
of the movement. 

In line with the argument that we pursue it can be suggested that if the 
twin conditions, namely, effective medium and adequate intensity of inter- 
action between the agent of communication and the audience is ensured, 
the people may accept' the ideas advocated. However, we suggest that 
even when these two conditions are assured, receptivity to the ideas may not 
come forth in a sufficient measure. The significance of the content of com- 
munication looms large here. Thus, even when Sarvodaya workers were 
constantly striving to educate the people of the ideals of the movement. 
Tor a fairly long time, say about a decade, as in the case of Raghupura, 
the people did not accept the Sarvodaya ideology. This unfolds the signi- 
ficance of the content of communication in the process of acceptance 
or rejection of ideas. In the ultimate analysis, therefore, the mode of com- 
munication. the intensity of interaction between the audience and the 



communicator and the content of communication are all equally impor 
tant in the context of acceptance or rejection of ideas by the people 

Mot nation in Accepting Gramdan 

It is important to know why inspite of the inadequate understanding 
of the meaning of Gramdan by the people they have “donated” their 
land Here we have to inquire into the motivating mechanism that the 
Sanodaya workers used Seventy-five per cent of the interviewees reported 
that the Sar\odaya workers promised multifarious developmental projects 
and material benefits to them if they accept Gramdan While 10 per cent 
of the respondents were not clear as to whether such promises were made 
or not, only 15 per cent denied that such promises were made to them 
It was clear that a large majority of the persons in Gramdan villages were 
looking forward to secure material benefits by donating their village m 
gift Thus, paradoxically enough, the motivating force for the acceptance 
of an ideology which systematically underscores material orientation 
(see Chapter VIII) was prompted through the promise of material benefits 

Benefits like irrigation facilities, electricity, loan, village school dis 
pensary, etc were promised to the villagers Specific promises were also 
made to the villages, which were of far more significance in motivating 
them to accept Gramdan Interestingly enough it was land which was 
sought to be communalized through the movement which was used as the 
chief motivating force 

Land as a Motivating Force 

Generally speaking the area of land in Gramdan villages is small as 
compared with other villages (see Chapter III) The usual pattern exists 
in Rajasthan villages is that pasture land, village site, waste land, bury- 
ing ground, wood land, etc are not individually owned and the ownership 
is vested in the government and commonly used by the villagers But 
several villages may have the handicap of not having such common land 
For instance, in Idanpura, according to the revenue records, there is no 
pasture land, which remained a perennial problem to the village The 
San oday a workers promised to get allotted about 200 acres of land belong- 
ing to a neighbouring village, (which had a large pasture land) by influenc- 
ing the District Collector (Revenue Officer) This was a major motivating 
force for the villagers to accept Gramdan But this promise did not come 
through till the time of our investigation, 7 years after the donation of 
the village, which had created a number of crisis situations (This issue 
is discussed in detail in Chapter V) For the moment it is sufficient to 
note that the immediate motivation of the people of Idanpura to donate 
their village in gift was to secure more land 


In Sukpura too, land was ofTcred as a bait to accept Gramdan. The Suk- 
purities were illegally occupying 684 acres of land from one of their 
neighbouring villages. The Sarvodaya workers suggested that a Co-opera- 
tive Farming Society could be established by pooling the land occupied 
by them in the neighbouring village and thus the land could be subse- 
quently legally owned. Attracted by the proposition and visualizing later 
possibilities, the villagers agreed to “donate" their village in gift. 

Bhoodanpura being a new colony the problem of motivating the villa- 
gers to donate their land did not arise. However, considerable difficulty was 
faced by the Sarvodaya workers to persuade them to settle down in the 
nesv colony. Initially the entire land was held in common and each settler 
was given a plot of land to cultivate. A large majority of the 35 households 
who were intended to be rehabilitated in the new village left for their 
original villages. They were motivated to stay on only when the Sarvodaya 
workers distributed individual ownership records ( Palta ) to them. Thus 
even when the villagers were recipients of land, they insisted on individual 
ownership. "It is amply clear from the facts presented above that it is not 
the ideals of the movement which motivated donations but the immediate 
material benefits promised or made available to the people. 

Raghupura was brought under Gramdan, according to several villagers, 
by duping them. Signatures for the surrender of ownership in land were 
collected from them under the pretext that they were signing for Taccavi 
loans. Once the necessary records ( Gramdan Patrika) were made, the 
saint-on-march (Vinoba) was brought to the village while he was on 
Padayalra in Rajasthan and the village was formally declared as donated. 
The villagers were frustrated at this step. However, the Sarvodaya workers 
at the lower levels promptly assured them that they need not give up their 
land at all and as will be shown later (Chapter V), there is not a single 
instance of land donation in Raghupura due to Gramdan. In fact, they 
were assured of more land belonging to neighbouring villages. 

Gaps in Communication 

The ease of Raghupura brings us to the problem of gaps in communi- 
cation and the consequent misdirected motivations. The first step in the 
process of Gramdan is that the donors should fill in the Granular, Patrika, 
a voluntary will surrendering their rights in the land they donate. The 
Rajasthan Gramdan Act 1960 prescribes that only when 80 per cent of 
population owning at least 51 per cent of the land in the village donate 
their land that it could be brought under the Act. It is required of the 
donors that they should apply to revenue authorities for bringing their 
village under the purview of the Act. For this, they must all record their 
willingness by putting the signatures in a prescribed form and subnvi 



jt to the tehsildar who is to inform the entire villagers of the donation 
and the implications thereof This is undertaken by sending in a notifi 
cation which is to be * pasted up in a prominent place in the village ’ 
and another copy “to be affixed on a conspicuous part in the office of 
the Collector of the District ’ A period of one month is given for filing 
objections and complaints and the case in which no petitions are received 
within the prescribed time the village is declared to be a Gramdan village 
In a large number of cases the objectives of Gramdan are not clearly 
communicated or the legal measures taken are concealed or the villagers 
have been duped Since the complaints were to be addressed to the tehsil 
dar the records in his office were examined Of the 65 villages brought 
under the Rajasthan Gramdan Act at the time of this investigation 36 
are situated in the four tehsris from which the villages are selected for our 
study An examination of the Gramdan records in these four tehsils revealed 
that complaints have been received from 10 or 28 per cent of the villages 
against taking legal steps to bring the village under Gramdan As is 
evident from Table 7, twenty-one complaints were received from these 

Table 7 

Complaints Received Objecting Co Gramdan (Four Tehsils) 

S No 

No of complaints Reasons Stated 


Total So of 
persons signed 



Do not subscribe to Gramdan 












Signatures collected through fra 
dulent communication 












Inadequate communication 














ten villages Three types of reasons were noted as the basis of complaints 
Refusal to subscribe to Gramdan ideology (6 complaints from three 
villages), fradulent communication (4 complaints from three villages), 
inadequate communication (II complaints from four villages) It may be 
noted that a large majority of the complaints are based on either fradulent 
or inadequate communication A specific instance of fradulent communt 
cation is obtaining signatures from the people under the promise that loans 


will be distributed to them later. Inadequate communication obtains when 
the legal steps taken to bring the village under Gramdan are concealed 
from the villagers, contrary to the statutory requirements. Thus there has 
been fradulcnt and inadequate communication of ideas thereby manipula- 
ting the situation to “trap" the people in the net of Gramdan J 

The majority of the villagers acquitted the Sarrodaya workers of any 
personal or selfish motivation. Thus 59 per cent of the respondents felt 
that the motivation of the Sarrodaya workers was altruistic (to help the 
villagers and to bring about welfare in society) and 29 per cent of them 
opined that they were not clear about the motives of those workers. How- 
ever, 12 per cent of the respondents thought that the Sarrodaya workers 
were simply selfish. This was evidenced by remarks such as: “They work 
to earn their bread". “They took all these trouble for it was their job”, 
etc. However, the majority of the population in Gramdan villages look 
upon the Sarrodaya workers as well-meaning individuals with high inte- 
grity. 8 This may be contrary to the fact. But what is significant is the 
image that a collectivity has regarding the leaders. In fact, the Sarrodaya 
workers at the lower level, usually tend to be ‘little charismatics’ (see 
Chapter VII). But all the sincerity that these workers show and the respect 
that they command is not sufficient to motivate the villagers to give up 
their land or other material possessions and adopt the Sarrodaya ideology. 
It is of special significance to note here that the idiom and ethos that the 
Sarrodaya movement employs is predominantly indigenous and the mode 
of communication too is Indian. Inspitc 'of all these there is not enough 
evidence to suggest that the people have accepted the ideology of the 

Yinoba is accepted as a “Saint" by most of the villagers. A Saint is a 
person who preaches spiritualism and non-matcrialistic things. But the 
orientation of Gramdan is this-worldly, mundane. At the same time the 
ideology of the movement disapproves material possession; its acceptance 
leads to this-worldly deprivation. Even as the leadership is appealing and 
is accepted by the people the objective it pursues is neither of this world 
nor of the other world and hence they reject it. The inherent weakness of 
the movement lies in this contradiction, which is self-defeating. 


The information regarding Bhoodan-Gramdan movement reached in all 
the villages through oral communication. The agents of communication 
were local Sarrodaya workers or village leaders. The ideas were communi- 
cated in an informal manner which suits the social environment of Indian 
villages. Though, through padayatra the agents of communication and 
the audience are brought into direct contact the span of interaction is 


insufficient for the people to digest and accept the ideas communicated 
In addition to this, while the people are inspired by the charismatic 
appeal of Vmoba the ideas propounded by him reach them through local 
leaders There occurs some distortion of ideas in the process of such a 
vertical transmission All these lead to the inadequate understanding of 
the meaning of Gramdan by the people Notwithstanding this they "agreed ' 
to donate their land because of the motivating mechanism employed 
by local leaders Innumerable material benefits including land were 
promised to the Gramdan villagers On the other hand, people were “co- 
erced” to accept Gramdan through dishonest and fradulcnt communica- 
tion Thus, communication of ideas remains inadequate and defective 
and the motivating mechanism employed by local leaders antithetical 
to the principles upheld by the movement While the villagers were 
moved by the charismatic appeal of Vinoba and had accepted him as a 
"Saint" the ideas propagated by him (non-material gratification) were 
rejected Importantly enough, the people were motivated to accept Gram- 
dan for material gratifications In order to confirm this assertion we only 
need to familiarise ourselves with the attempts made to bring about 
changes in the economy of Gramdan villages 


iVmoba had started travelling in car, occasionally, since 1966, under medical advice 
From 1952 till he has started using car, for nearly 15 years he was walking from place 
to place 

*For instance, Bhoodan yajna (in Hindi) started in 1954 Since 1956 Bhoodan is being 
published in English too In addition to these weeklies Gramdan was started in 1957 as 
a separate publication These publications are exclusively devoted to reporting the pro- 
gress of the Bhoodan Gramdan movement, but publications like Sarvodaya and Gandhi 
Afarg too endeavour to propagate the basic ideas and philosophy of the movement 

3 Mcrton speaks or ‘opinion leaders’ in the context of mass media The opinion leaders 
are 'influent ia!s’ who act as mediating agencies between the mass media and the indivi- 
dual in the mass According to him the effect of the mass media is on the ‘‘leaden" 
and they interpret the same to the rank and rue Obviously in the process of interpreting 
they tend to influence the mass We suggest that ‘opinion leaders’ operate even in those 
societies where the mass media is non-existent or in-opcrative due to the low educational 
level of the people When ideas are communicated orally it is usually the elite which 
directly receives and subsequently interprets the same to the people Even if it is received 
by other members who have outside contacts, the requisite “filtering’’ and “screening” 
is made by the elite before presenting it to the people Merton's distinction between 
“local ’ and "cosmopolitan" leaders is very useful, to the extent they operate in different 
types of communities and at different levels In the context of Rural India the opinion 
leaders are, more often than not, locally orientated For a detailed understanding of these 


ideas, see R.K. Merlon “Patterns of inlluencc: a stud) of inter-personal influence and 
communication behaviour in a local community" in P.F. Lazarsfcld and Stanton fed.). 
Commtmication Research, New York, Harper and Bros.. 1949. 

•‘This is a surprisingly happy situation as compared with the spread of communication 
that exists normally in Indian villages. For instance, nearly 50 percent of the respondents 
from the villages situated in Community Development Block did not know that their 
village was in the project. For a detailed study of the inadequate spread of communica- 
tion in Indian villages, sec S.C. Dube, India's Char.zinz I 'Mazes, London. Routlcdge and 
Kegan Paul, 1958, especially pp. 113-114. 

? DamIc reports that only a scry fesv persons, usually the village elite, know of even the 
top national political leaders. Sec, Y.R. Damlc, Communication of Modern ideas and 
knowlcdxe in Indian villages, M.I.T.. Massachusetts. 1955 (The situation — in Gramdan 
villages seem to be happier). 

t'A svord of caution needs to be inserted here. We ha\-c noted in Chapter II that in a 
Sunodaya social order the group has primacy over the individual. Also, the individual 
is expected to mobilise his entire energy for the service of the society. Tins being the posi- 
tion fit can be asked by Sanodaya ideologists), is it necessary that all persons in the 
system, should know of the objectives of the movement. In so far as one is convinced of 
the Sanodaya assumption the attempt to probe into an understanding of the ideology 
by all (heads of households) may be irrelevant. But while the Sanodaya ideology em- 
phasize the primacy of the group over the individual it also insists on his active parti- 
cipation in the decision making process in the community. Naturally, if a village is to 
accept the ideology every adult in the village should know the matter and should have 
a chance to register his viewpoint. Tie recognition of this aspect of Sanodaya ideo- 
logy calls for an inquiry into the level of understanding that the adults in Gramdan 
villages have of its ideology and hence the inquiry regarding the spread of communica- 
tion becomes crucial. Of course we confine our enquiry only to a section of adults, 
that is, heads of households. The situation becomes indeed problematic, when, even 
this small segment of the adult population is not aware of the movement and its ideology. 

7 It is interesting to record here what Vinoba thinks of the motives of donors. He writes: 
"....there is no reason to think that the donors arc hypocrites," implying that each 
donation is made most willingly. Vinoba wants to achieve personal intimacy (one is 
not quite sure how this is achieved simply by addressing gatherings) with each donor 
and would accept the donation only when offered with full deliberation. He writes: 
"My satisfaction lies in the fact that people arc giving freely and after mature thought 
...” (emphasis supplied). Our evidence is that Gramdan donations arc, more often than 
not, prompted and rarely freely given and there is no evidence to suggest that the dona- 
tions are made after mature thought. For Vinoba’s uttcrings in this context, see, Vinoba 
Bhave, Rhoodan Yajna. Ahmedabad, Navajivan Publishing House, 1953, pp. 9 and 72. 

x This controverts the argument that the movement failed due to inadequate 
leadership, see Saciiidannndn. Sarvodava in a Communist State, Bombay, Popular 
Pnikashan. 1964. 


Economic Changes in Gramdan Villages 

The Bhoodan Gramdan movement visualizes to evolve a ‘non-violent’ 
economy, an economic system from which exploitation has been completely 
wiped out While the economy conceived by the movement is predomi- 
nantly agrarian, adequate importance to small scale and cottage indus- 
tries is given Co operative financing organisations are to be introduced 
to avoid the exploitation by middlemen and cottage and village industries 
need to be started to effect the requisite balance in the economy We 
propose to examine the changes that are attempted in Gramdan villages, 
in the economic sector, m this chapter 

Some conceptual clarifications 

It is necessary that we start with certain conceptual clarifications 1 
This is necessitated by the fact that “land reform” and “agrarian reform” 
are interchangably used both implying “land distribution ” Historically, 
land reform denoted a change in tenure It may be a change of title to land, 
change of status from tenant to owner, from public to private ownership, 
from individual to collective ownership or vice versa Agrarian reform 
has always meant much more than a change of tenure and may be defined 
as “ a rapid improvement in one or more sectors of the agrarian 
structure, and consists of two general areas of reform Land tenure 
reform which treats changes in the form of tenure and land operation 
reforms which treats of changes in other sectors of the agrarian structure ” 2 

Gramdan attempts to abolish individual ownership to be replaced by 
collective ownership It also recommends land operation reforms, a pre- 
ferred change to collective or cooperative farming from family farming 
So the inclusive term agrarian reform is more appropriate in the present 

Again, if we enlarge the notion of agrarian reform it subsumes under 
it the abolition of feudalism but the term land reform is too narrow 
to include such a change m the basic structure of the society Feudalism 
implies personal subservience of the peasant to the landlord through 
traditional obligatory ties and the right to expect welfare measures from 
the landlord in return Abolition of this feudal relationship does not 


necessarily depend on nor imply change of title to the land or its re-dis- 
tribution. It is significant to recall here that the Bhoodan-Gramdan move- 
ment was born out of the violent Tciengana peasant riots (see Chapter II) 
which was a revolt by the peasantry (though, politically motivated and 
manipulated) against the notorious semi-feudal-' agrarian structure \%hich 
existed in the erstwhile State of Hyderabad. Gramdan movement seeks to 
secure land for the landless from the rich and it hopes to establish a sys- 
tem where the land is owned by the tiller. Implied in such a move is the 
abolition of feudal elements in society. So. from this angle also, the more 
inclusive term ‘Agrarian reform' seems to be appropriate. 

Finally, in order to sustain the communal ownership in land and co- 
operative farming, a conducive institutional structure is to be provided. 
One of the biggest problems that the Indian peasant faces is that of finance. 
The traditional sources of finance, particularly the village Sahukar (money 
lender), operate contrary to the interests of the farmer. Under the circum- 
stances. the establishment of Village Co-operative Societies will go a long 
way to relieve the Indian peasant from the clutches of the money lender. 
While the co-operative movement gains strengthen Rural India as a whole, 
it is expected that every household in a Gramdan village will enrol itself 
as a member of the Co-operative Society. This situation calls for a treat- 
ment of the origin, development and status of Co-operative Societies in 
Gramdan villages. Thus our discussion on agrarian reforms concentrates 
on three areas: land reforms. land operation reforms and organisational 

Land Reforms 

Although the land is said to be collectively owned in Gramdan villages, 
actually it is still possessed and cultivated on individual basis. In 
order to understand the relative absence or presence of land concentration 
in Gramdan villages we attempt a systematic comparison of land holdings, 
between the experimental ( Gramdan ) and control eases. As pointed out 
earlier, sample villages were selected from the three regions of Rajasthan, 
important differences between these areas being those in the size of 
holdings and the type of land held . 4 

A few very interesting differences in the pattern of land holdings 
between the experimental and control cases as evidenced from the data 
in Table S may be discussed here . 5 The size of control villages in 
respect to area of land is bigger as compared with experimental 
(Gramdan) villages. Thus, the control village from Plain Area has nearly 
three times land and that in Arid Area has nearly twice the area of land 
as compared with their Gramdan counterparts from these regions. In 
the Highland villages there is no significant differences in the area of land 



between experimental and control cases The difference or its absence 
in total area of land held is reflected in regard to the average holding per 
household The average holding per household m the control village in 
Plain Area is three times bigger than what it is in the experimental village 
and the average holding of control village from Arid Area is 8 acres more 
than the Gramdan village However, the difference in household holdings 
in Highland Area is negligible 

It may not be fortituous to suggest that the small area of land held 
by experimental villages was an important factor in the acceptance of 
Gramdan 6 As has been pointed out earlier (see Chapter IV) land is 
used as a motivating force to persuade the people to accept Gramdan 

Both in Plain and Highland villages the concentration of land is slightly 
more m non Gramdan cases In the case of villages from And Area, though 
the concentration is more in the control village at the upper level the trend 
does not persist uniformly Thus while the top 20 per cent of households 
possess only 45 3 per cent of land in the Gramdan village the same percen 
tage of population hold 50 6 per cent of land m control village However, 
80 per cent households possess 99 3 per cent of land in Gramdan village, 
the same percentage of population in non -Gramdan village owns slightly 
less, 97 2 per cent of land Generally speaking, there is no notable differ- 
ence between experimental and control cases in regard to the pattern of 
land concentration is concerned In both the cases the poorest 20 per 
cent of households are either landless or have extremely small holdings 

Though there exists hardly any difference between experimental and 
control villages in regard to concentration of land, it remains to be seen 
whether the position in experimental villages improved due to Gramdan 
As noted earlier, of the four Gramdan villages studied, the issue of reducing 
inequality in land holding did not arise in only one of them (Bhoodanpura) 
which was a new colony where the land was distributed more or less 
equally, between 7 to 9 acres In Raghupura, no attempt was made to 
reduce the inequality of landholding and there was not a single instance 
of land donation to the landless Even the allotment of culturable waste- 
land from another village was not based on landlessness or small hold- 
ings (see below) In Sukpura and in Idanpura some efforts were made to 
distribute land to the landless, the attempt in the latter case being more 
systematic We report the land exchanges in each of these villages 


A few months after donating the village in gift (through Gramdan 
Patrika ) the San odaya workers came to Sukpura “to allot” land to each 
cultivator By and large the pre Gramdan holdings by each household 

Experimental ( Granulan) Villages Control ( Non-Gnmufan) Villages 


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were retained The cases of land “exchanges” took place after Gramdan 
are noted below ( 

Case I Pusha, a Jat, had “donated” 2 acres of land to Jagmal, the un 
touchable cobbler ft Chamar ) On questioning, Jagmal answered to the 
San oda) a workers thus “I am satisfied with the two acres of land given 
to me I am the cobbler of Sukpura 1 think it is sufficient for my liveli- 
hood " 

The statement made by Jagmal pleased the Sanoda\a workers who 
had gone “to allot” land But our enquiry revealed that Jagmal was 
coerced and was threatened with dire consequences if he had not reported 
as he did Pusha had donated 2 acres to Jagmal as a bait to the latter to 
purchase another 8 acres of land from him Pusha knew that since the 
ownership of land was vested in Gram Sabha no legally valid exchange of 
land was possible 7 Pusha “sold” 8 acres of land for Rs 250 to Jagmal 
Jagmal wanted 10 acres of land and this was how he secured it 8 
Pusha’s “selling" the land to Jagmal created controversies m the vil 
lage But Pusha was favourably placed in the village power structure 
He belonged to one of the leading lineages of Jats in the village and was 
a younger brother of one of the Patels (chiefs) Again, the president of 
Gram Sabha had married his sister-in-law These connections had ren 
dcred him influential and the matter was hushed up 
However, the Sanodaya village level worker {Gram Sahayak) had 
brought this matter to the notice of District and State level Sanodaya 
officials The indifference at these levels prompted him to take up the 
matter with Akhtl Bharat Sana Se\a Sangh at Kashi, the central organi 
sation which man Sanodaya activities at the all-India level The response 
from A B S S was exactly as that from governmental bureaucracy 
He was informed that the papers were sent to the Rajasthan Sena Sc\a 
Sangh for action The R S S in turn had sent the papers to the District 
Sanodaya Mandal for action The Gram Sahayak was promptly repri 
manded both by the State and district Sanodaya authorities for disclos- 
ing the case to A B S S and no action was taken 
Case // Kishan Singh a Rajput, had “donated” 10 acres of land to 
5 untouchable (Naiks) families (2 acres each) Enquiries unfolded that 
Kishan Singh’s ownership in the donated land was disputed Two other 
Rajput households too claimed ownership in the same land It was fur- 
ther known that this land was cultivated by the persons to whom it was 
“donated”, for quite a few years While the Rajputs insisted that they 
have given up the ownership in this plot of land due to Gramdan, the 
Naiks did not take it to be a donation, for, they were cultivating it before 
At any rate, landlessness was not the criterion of alloting this land Two 
of the five households to which the land was allotted had land of their own, 


whereas six of the twelve Naifc households in the village were absolutely 
landless. This indicates that the reason behind Rajputs* "donating" the 
land was helplessness, for. they knew for certain that they could not re- 
claim that plot of land. 

Case III. Lakma, a Jat. had "donated” 12 acres of land to Khiva, his 
brother-in-law. Khiva was cultivating this land even before Granuian but 
lived in a different village. But after Gramdan he was brought to Sukpura 
and this land was donated to him through Gram Sabha. This instance 
illustrates how a “donation” can be meaningless. Such amusing 
situations arc created by the provision laid down by the movement that 
a donor can decide upon the donee too. 

Case IV. Jaganath, a Jat of Sukpura left the village to settle down 
at the district headquarters. When the villagers had accepted Granuian 
he was away and hence was not consulted. He owned 8 acres of land in 
the village which he had -sold to his cousin for Rs. 400. However, this 
was taken to be a donation by the Sarvadaya workers. 

Case V. Uin Singh, a Rajput, had “donated” 6 acres of land to his 
cousin. His cousin Bhcru Singh owned only two acres of land in Sukpura, 
whereas he owned 160 acres of land in two neighbouring villages within 
5 miles distance, which were not under Gramdan. 

Thcsc.arc the only five eases of land exchanges in Sukpura since Gramdan. 
It is interesting to note the implications of these exchanges. 

Case I reveals how an individual from the weaker section in a village 
can be effectively coerced or silenced by the elites to suit their purpose, 
while apparently giving the impression to the superficial observer that 
the rich are “magnanimous” and the poor are “content." Such instances 
help perpetuating the myth that the aspiration level of Indian villager, 
particularly those from lower castes, is low. This assumes great signi- 
ficance in the context of an important value advocated by the movement, 
namely voluntary restriction of wants. It can also be cited as an instance 
of rich man’s concern for the poor and his ability to be the custodian of 
poor, which ultimately ends up with trusteeship theory of Gandhi. How- 
ever, the information we have proved that the facts are to the contrary. 
Case 11 unfolds that there is a tendency to donate disputed property and 
the act of donation itself is forced by circumstances which border help- 
lessness rather than ‘genuine’ fellow feeling. Case III illustrates how 
donations are made to one’s kith and kin and the dysfunctional conse- 
quences of freedom given to the donor to decide upon the donee. Case IV 
shows how Gramdan checks mobility. The problem arises as and when 
a person wants to leave a Gramdan village. If the Gram Sahhn does not 
opt to purchase his share of land and refuses the permission to an 
individual to buy it, is it not coercing the intending migrant? On the other 



hand, if a man is not given the right to sell his land, as he chooses, is it 
not an encroachment upon the fundamental rights assured to him in 
free India's Constitution* 7 These are very serious problems Our present 
interest is only to raise these issues Apart from these implications. Case 
IV also brings to light certain latent functions of legalization of communal 
ownership in land Under the existing pattern of ownership m land 
(by Gram Sabha ) in Gramdan villages, land cannot enter the market 
This can completely prevent emigration from and migration into the 
Gramdan villages thereby insulating it from the outside world Moreover, 
if the incidence of Gramdan increases it can be a serious bottleneck in the 
context of the conceived industrialization of India Non-entry of land into 
the market perpetuates ruralism and inhibits industrialism 9 Case V 
unfolds two types of problems As in Case III it shows how one’s land 
can be kept to oneself in actuality by ‘donating’ the same to a near kin. 
Second it shows how a person with a small holding in a Gramdan village 
can “subscribe” to its ideology by donating hrs /and whife keeping his 
considerable holdings outside the village, to himself This is what happened 
not only in the case of several individuals but also m the case of many 
villages as well (This is detailed below) 

We have shown that the land exchanges which took place in Sukpura 
were very few and all the cases were “spurious” It is also evident from 
the data that there is a very heavy concentration of land in the hands 
of the upper layers in the village Since there is a rough coincidence 
between caste and class, the landed are the upper castes too 
The caste-wise distribution of land in Sukpura is shown in Table 9 
The Rajputs and Brahmins have the highest per capita holding 

Table 9 

Caste wise Distribution of Land in Sukpura after Gramdan 


No of 

No of 

Land in acres 





No Name of the caste 

Inside the 

Outside the 

1 Rajput 






13 29 

2 Brahmin 







3 Nai (Barber) 







4 Jat 



1386 3 

1017 5 



5 Chamar (Untouch 



10 5 


10 5 



6 Naik (Untouchable) 



11 5 

11 5 










of land. The Jats ha%c the bulk of the land and they constitute 
the bulk of the population too. which makes them dominant as a 
group in the village, though their per capita holding is only little above 
the general average. Chamars and Naiks are untouchables and their hold- 
ings arc far too small in size as compared with the average holdings in 
the village, that of the latter group being almost negligible. Inspite of the 
fact that the average land holding per household in Sukpura is 31 acres 
(see Table 8) and the per capita holding is 7.66 acres, 6 households of Naiks 
arc entirely landless. The point we want to make is this: Gramdan did not 
result in the abolition of landlessness in Sukpura, the abundance of land 
in the village not withstanding. 


A systematic attempt was made in Idanpura to distribute land to all 
households. Idanpura had two types of land: irrigated and unirrigated. 
The irrigated land yielded two crops annually, while the unirrigated land 
was cultivated only once a year. It was the unirrigated land which 
was donated and distributed. Table 10 reveals the castcwisc distribu- 

TADLt to 

Caste-wise Distribution of Land in Idanpura (Pre 'Gramdan) 

Land in acres 

5. Name of the caste 

No. of 

No. of 










rite village 

the village 



I. Ahir 







2. Jat 







3. Brahmin 







•L Nai (Barber) 







5. Rajput 







6. Kumhnr (potter) 







7. Bahlai (untouchable) 







8, Khati (carpenter) 













tion of land in pr c-Gramdan Idanpura. Unlike Sukpura the upper 
castes did not have the top position in land ownership. In fact. Brahmins 
rank 3rd and Rajputs 5th according to per capita land distribution. The 
Ahirs and Jats were the two peasant castes which own the bulk of land and 
who form the majority of population. The functionary (artisan) castes 


like Nai Kumhar, Khali, etc too owned land Though Bhalais (untouch' 
ables) owned 17 acres of land, this land was outside the village and was 
exclusively owned by one household, leaving the remaining 5 households 
entirely landless 

Keeping this pattern of pre Gramdan land holding m mind let us 
examine the impact of distribution of land Table 11 shows the 

Table It 

Caste-wise Gam/Loss of Land in Idanpura due to Gramdan 

No of 

Land possessed 

Net gam/ 

Net garni 

S Caste 


loss for 

loss per 



Prior to 


the caste 




(in acres) 

(in acres) 

(in acres) 

(in acres) 

1 Ahir 


262 46 

233 46 

—29 00 


2 Jat 


25 70 

25 70 



3 Brahmin 


7 25 

8 75 

+1 50 


4 Nai 


8 07 




5 Rajput 


29 74 

38 74 

+9 00 

+ 100 

6 Kumhar 


3 50 

4 50 

+ 100 

+ 100 

7 Khati 





+ 100 

8 Bhalai (untouchable) 6 

17 00 

27 50 

+10 50 




357 72 

357 72 



caste wise gain or loss of land The Ahirs were the only “losers” in the 
game While the Brahmins gained least (0 75 acres per household), the 
Bhalais gained most (I 75 acres per household), all other castes securing 
at least I acre per household What is significant here is to note that 
landlessness was not the criterion of re-distribution of land For instance, 
the Nai household possessed over 8 acres of land, and the average hold- 
ing of Brahmin, Rajput and Kumhar households were well over 3 acres 
The two castes which deserved more favourable treatment were Khatis 
and Bhalais Thus while an effort was made to distribute land, inequalities 
remained glaring as shown in Table 8 More disturbing was it to learn 
that several donors took back the donated land (The position shown in 
Table 8 does not take into account this later development) 

In order to appreciate the events which led to the distribution and the 
subsequent taking back of land by the donors we need to probe into 
the overall situation obtained in Idanpura The total area of land in Idan- 
pura was 272 24 acres Both the irrigated (106 20 acres) and ummgated 
(68 24 acres) land was individually owned and cultivated, whereas the 


ownership of culturablc wasteland (77.99 acres), abadi land (village site) 
(19.81 acres), etc. was vested in the State. The waste land was commonly 
used for purposes such as burying dead, grazing cattle, rearing wood for 
fuel. etc. It may be noted that according to the land settlement records 
tdanpura had no specifically demarcated pasture land and as pointed 
out earlier one of the leading motivations behind accepting Granutan 
was the possibility of securing the same, from a neighbouring village. 

When the Sarvodaya workers called upon the land owners in Jdanpura 
for donation, only the Ahirs and Rajputs responded to this appeal by 
donating 29 and 12 acres respectively. The Rajput's action was intended 
to “exact” land out of Ahirs, several villagers commented, and they ma- 
naged to receive back 21 acres when re-distribution was effected, thus 
gaining 9 acres. Of the 24 Ahir households 1 1 had donated land ; two house- 
holds 5 acres each, three households 3 acres each, six households 1.5 
acres each, thus totalling 29 acres. Thus Gramdan was “costly” only to 
these II Ahir households and all others either were gainers or noil- 

In early 1958 (just before Jdanpura came under Gramdan) Rajputs 
got allotted 65.62 out of the 7S acres of culturablc wasteland as their pri- 
vate property. There were two lineages of Rajputs in Idanpura. For 
purposes of identity we call them: Ganpat group and Ram Narain group. 
The Ganpat group secured 37.51 acres and Ram Narain’s group 28.11 
acres of culturablc wasteland. This posed a serious problem to the village, 
as the culturablc wasteland was earlier used as pasture land. 

Though the Rajputs got the land in allotted 1958 they did not cultivate 
it till 1963. In the meantime a number of unsuccessful attempts were made 
by Sarvodaya workers and the Gram Sabha to persuade Rajputs to release 
this land for grazing the cattle. The Ram Narain group swore that they 
were ready to return the land provided Ganpat's group too did so. The 
Ganpat group did not care for such a gesture. The Gram Sabha offered to 
give 1 5 acres of single crop land, in lieu of returning this 37 acres, to Ganpat. 
Even this could not persuade Ganpat. In 1963 Ganpat decided to bring 
24 acres of the allotted culturablc wasteland under plough. Notwithstanding 
the support he had from one of the leading factions in the village he knew 
for certain that without involving them in the issue mere intimately 
he could not cultivate the land. He succeeded in enlisting the support 
of 8 Ahir households who shared the 24 acres of land for cultivation with 
him. Ram Narain’s group followed suit. 

The cultivation of this land intensified the mounting tension in Idan- 
pura. A number of events bordering violent physical exchanges had taken 
place. Appeals in the name of religion too was made. The Gram Sabha 
meeting held on 20 July. 1963 recorded the people's feeling thus: “Those 


who are obstructing the grazing of cattle is definitely acting contrary 
to Hindu Dharma The cow is sacred in Hindustan Pasture land is meant 
for Mother Cow and those who create difficulties in this regard are there- 
fore enemies of Hindu Dharma ” Neither the physical violence nor the 
religious appeals registered on Ganpat or his group They went ahead 
with the scheme of cultivating the culturable waste land 

It may be noted here that the donated and distributed land in the event 
of Gramdan was unirngatfd and this land was cultivated only once a year 
The remaining part of the year this land was used as grazing field Those 
who had sufficient irrigated land usually kept this land exclusively for 
raising fodder for cattle After the donation of this land the donors were 
entirely dependent upon the common culturable waste land which 
was subsequently brought under plough by Rajputs This had left no 
choice for the donors than taking back the land they had donated Ex- 
cepting the two households {Aims) which had donated 5 acres each, 
all had taken back the possession of their donated land Thus the effort 
to distribute land to the landless in Idanpura was an utter failure In fact 
the data we had presented earlier, clearly indicates that the land distribu- 
tion was attempted not out of any genuine desire to ameliorate the condi- 
tions of landless The processes involved in land distribution and the sub 
sequent reversal to status quo created innumerable conflicts, enormous 
tensions and frequent crisis situations in Idanpura It should be amply 
evident by now that the concept of Gramdatt is far from rooted m Idanpura 


One of the baits offered by Sarvodaya workers to Raghupuntes, as nt 
other cases, for the acceptance of Gramdan was additional land from 
neighbouring villages Ever since Gramdan, the people of Raghupura were 
pursuing the matter with Sanodaya workers and the latter in turn pursued 
it with revenue officials and at last succeeded to get 32 acres of land allotted 
from the culturable wasteland of a neighbouring village The allotment 
and distribution of this land was kept a secret from a large majority of 
the population in Raghupura Raghupura was a tribal village with 55 
households Kinship organisation was very strong among them and clan 
was an important basis of group formation There were four dans in 
Raghupura Kotedia (43 households), Batats (5 households), Pargis (4 
households), and Kharadis (3 households) The land allotment was dis- 
closed to none of the numerically smaller clans and to some Kotedias 
Four lineages constitute Kotedia clan in Raghupura, two of these being 
leading ones with 17 and 12 households each The entire land allotted 
was shared by these two lineages, the bigger lineage securing 18 acres 
and the smaller 14 acres Incidentally these leading lineages were also the 


economically better ofT groups in Raghupura. Such manipulations are by 
no means surprising to one who knows the land hunger of farmer. But 
that it happened in a Gramdan village where communal ownership of 
land was claimed to be in existence was certainly alarming. 10 

Not unexpectedly the news about land allotment created frustration, 
suspicion and discontent among those Raghupurites who did not receive 
land. More disquieting was to know of the complaint filed by the people 
of the neighbouring village, from which land was allotted, to the district 
revenue officials decrying the “partiality” shown to Gramdan villages. 
This incident had also released waves of enmity between the two villages. 
We had noted earlier the promise made by Sarvodaya workers to Sukh- 
purites to help them secure the illegally occupied land in a neighbouring 
village through the formation of a Co-operative Farming Society. The 
people of Idanpura too were promised the allotment of pasture land from 
a neighbouring village. Instances of this type could easily be multiplied. 
When action follows promises, it invariably leads to inter-village disputes 
based on land. In fact a number of inter-village land disputes created 
through Gramdan were noted in the course of our investigation which 
undercuts the entire purpose of the movement. The situation was aggra- 
vated due to the bifurcation of erstwhile revenue villages in the process 
of Gramdanisation and according the small hamlets, the status of full 
villages (for details see Chapter III). When a revenue village is bifurcated 
into a number of small units, each of which has equal and identical revenue 
status, disputes in regard to the proportionate allocation of common lands 
arise as a matter of course. 

Sufficient has perhaps been said to throw serious doubt on the effective- 
ness of land reform's in Gramdan villages. Now we turn to the difficulties 
involved in attempting land reforms exclusively at the village level. Table 
12 shows that 51 per cent of land held by Idanpuritcs and 42 per cent 
of land owned by Sukhpurites arc outside their respective villages. The 
percentage of land Raghupurites have outside their village is less (II 
per cent). The surrender of ownership in land through Gramdan Patrika 
is confined to the land held within the village. 

Table 12 

Location of Land Owned by Gramdan Milage 


Name of village 

Land inside the 

Land outside the 






( > « 


s ) 


















This means persons or groups who own land outside their village can 
retain their ownership in the out-viUage land and yet subscribe to Gram 
dan ideology by donating the land^owned by them within the village In 
all the three Gramdan villages, we have studied, this pattern of land 
ownership exists, thereby rendering the attempt at land reforms ineffective 
The recent developments in the movement emphasizing Prakhand Dan 
and Ztlla Dan , however, will take care of this problem 
We have shown that m Gramdan villages, there is as much concentre 
tion of land as in other villages This means, several of the legislations 
passed in the country to bring about economic equality are dysfunctional 
in the case of Gramdan villages Since theoretically the land is commonly 
owned the government step to reduce inequality in land ownership through 
land ceiling measures are inapplicable to Gramdan villages, while in actual 
practice the bulk of the land is concentrated in the hands of a small per- 
centage of population Similarly, the income accrued from land is not 
counted on an individual basts (since land is said to be communally owned) 
and this helps one escaping progressive taxation measures (e g income 
tax, estate duty, etc ) The potentiality of Gramdan movement to facilitate 
such evasions of legislation cannot be under-estimated when one notes 
that there are nearly 100,000 Gramdan villages at present Thus an 
unanticipated consequence (latent function) of the movement is to 
nullify the impact of progressive legislations, thereby safeguarding 
reactionary elements and fostering vested interest forces 
We have noted that both in Idanpura and m Sukpura landlessness 
was not the basis for distribution of land and in the former village where 
the attempt to distribute land was almost widespread, the upper castes 
and those who owned land earlier benefited as much as the landless 
Further, the land distribution policy did not follow the maxim upheld 
by the Gramdan movement, namely ‘land for the tiller’ For instance, the 
Brahmin households m Idanpura get their land cultivated through a hah. 11 
an agricultural labourer hired on an annual basis with seasonal payment 
of remuneration The carpenters engaged agricultural labourers to culti 
vate their land, for, while their own daily labour was valued at Rs 4 to 6 
they could engage an agricultural labourer by paying Rs 2 to 3 Neither 
the barber nor the potter who also received the land work it, but got it 
tilled through others All this reveals that land reached the hands which 
were not meant for its cultivation The criterion of landlessness was ill 
defined and the principle, “land for the tiller” was abused Paradoxically, 
the land had come out of the hands of the real tiller (Ahirs) This means 
the criterion of landlessness needs to be re-defined It is not landlessness 
per se which is to be considered but orientation of a person or group to 
farming as an occupation The non-agncultural segment of village popula 



lion need not be given land but can be helped through the fostering of 
the arts and crafts in which they are engaged. 

To be sure, the Dhalais (the untouchables of Idanpura) cultivate the 
land by themselves. The traditional occupation of this caste was leather 
tanning and manufacturing and mending of shoes along with being village 
messangers. In theirattempt to emancipate themselves from the clutches of 
the polluting occupation (traditionally assigned to them) and the attend- 
ed ritual degradation, they had taken to rope-making and agricultural 
labour recently. The aspiration of every Bhalai is to become a Kashtakar, 
an owner-cultivator. It should be stated that the receiving of nearly two 
acres of land each by the Bhalai households at the instance of Gramdan 
was a great boon to them and they became frustrated when this land was ' 
taken back from them later. 

The point we want to emphasize is that, notwithstanding the possibility 
of the traditionally non-agricultural lower castes enhancing their status 
and income by the possession of land it should be borne in mind that the 
indiscriminate distribution of land may have effects antithetical to the 
spirit of Gramdan. The availability of land to some of these castes may 
result in their abandoning the traditional occupations which would drive 
the village population to the city for goods and services hitherto supplied 
by these castes thereby intensifying the drain on village economy and 
increasing the dependence of ruralites on the outside world, both of which 
arc contrary to the goals pursued by the movement. 

Again, viewed in the wider context of economic development and the 
ongoing process of industrialization in India a greater percentage of 
population needs to be increasingly released from the fold of agriculture. 
This is possible by according equal importance and value to non-agricut- 
tura! occupations. The Sarxodaya vision of agro-industrial community, 
is thus far shrouded in nebulousncss. If anything, Gramdan seems to rein- 
force the prestige value associated with land and facilitates the traditional 
aspiration of every villager to be a Kashtakar (owner cultivator) by the 
indiscriminate distribution of land. 

Land Conflicts 

Having discussed the abortive attempt of land redistribution in Gram- 
dan villages we turn to a study of land conflicts in these villages, after 
their joining the Gramdan movement. The discussion of land conflicts in 
Gramdan villages will conclusively establish how deep-rooted is the in- 
dividual ownership in land. There were two important land conflicts in 

Case 1 . None of the three brothers ofKhana Ahir had issues. Kh ana’s 
son Ram Kumar inherited the entire wealth. Ram Kumar had three sons, 


Shuja, Lalu and Shuva Shuva, the youngest, was jointly adopted by 
two of his fathers’ uncles which made him the claimant of their property 
Shuja and Lalu were kept by their father alongwith one of the latter’s 
uncles In congruence with the norms of adoption Shuva claimed and 
cultivated 50 per cent of the total ancestral land However, Shuja and 
Lalu wanted the property to be equally divided into three shares The 
dispute was going on for some time and reached its climax in 1963 (5 
years after Gramdan ) when Shuva was not allowed to cultivate the land 
Shuja was leading an important faction in the village and his group suppor 
ted his claim Shuva was forced to seek protection and help from the other 
faction of Idanpura led by Ram Narain, the eldest son of the former 
Jagirdar and Nathu, the revenue pate! of the village The people of the 
neighbouring two villages too were involved in the dispute as the family 
owned land m these villages too 
A combined meeting of Idanpura Gram Sabha and the neighbouring 
villages was convened on 20th July, 1963 to settle the issue The chiefs 
from the neighbouring villages arrived by 9 p m and the meeting started 
The Gram Sahayak was asked to record the proceedings The following 
statement was prepared first and read, “We, Shuja, son of Ram Kumar, 
Lalu, Son of Hukma and Shuva, son of Ramanath — three brothers— had 
difficulties m reaching an agreement regarding the division of our property 
Quarrel was going on in this regard Today, the 20th July, 1963 the Gram 
Sabha meeting was convened to settle the dispute and we will abide by the 
decisions reached by the Pane]} to be selected by the Gram Sabha 
meeting ” The three brothers put their signatures under the statement 
Five persons were selected to decide upon the matter Three were patels 
of the three neighbouring villages and two from Idanpura, the Patel and 
an old Ahir The decision reached by the Panch was one of via media 
Shuva was given slightly less than 50 per cent of land, Shuja and Lalu 
were allotted little more than 1/3 of the land each Thus, an acute land 
dispute going on for 6 years was laid to rest 
Case II Harbaksh, a Rajput had borrowed Rs 100 from Nathu, Ahir 
(Patel) in the year 1956, by mortgaging (informally) 2 acres of land In 
the same year Harbaksh died and Ganpat, his successor,, claimed the land 
back in 1958 and he offered Rs 200 Nathu refused to return the land to 
Ganpat Ganpat could not take to legal proceedings as this exchange was 
not codified in the revenue records Under the circumstances Ganpat had 
resorted to violence and forcefully cultivated the land m 1959 (one year 
after Gramdan ) Ganpat, being a police constable, could influence the 
police officials When the patel went to Phulera (the police thana head 
quarters) he was taken to the police station and was forced to agree that 
he will give the land back to Ganpat Later a meeting of the villagers 


was convened when the money was given to patel and Gan pa: received 
the land back. 

Four land conflicts were noted from Sukpura. 

Case I. Irkan, Jat. had three sons — Mandroop, Bhura and Nimba. 
Mandroop had no issues. Nimba died when his son Gahana was young, 
Bhura too died leaving three sons. Since Mandroop had no issues Gahana 
wanted that the ancestral properly should be divided equally between 
him and the sons of Bhura. On the contrary Bhura's sons wanted the land 
to be divided into three equal shares and they should get two parts of it. 
Though no open conflict had occurred, much controversy and discontent 
was noted and enmity existed between the two families. The Gram Sabha 
pursued a policy of indifference in this dispute. 

Case II. An instance of boundary dispute was reported between two 
Jats, Ketha and Budda. In 1963 at the time of ploughing the land, Ketha 
disregarded the boundary stone and encroached upon Budda’s land. When 
Budda enquired about the matter from Ketha, the latter was said to have 
used abusive language which led to the manhandling of Ketha. No action 
was taken by Gram Sabha to settle the dispute. Ketha thinks that the 
Gram Sabha was partial to Budda as he was a leading figure in the village. 

Case III. There was a kacha road in Sukhpura cutting through the lands 
of 10 persons leading to a neighbouring village. Bullock carts could be 
driven to carry manure to the field and cattle were taken to the pasture 
land through the road. In 1960 four of the land owners objected to the using 
of this road and consequently a number of conflict situations had 
cropped up. (This instance clearly illustrates that the sense of individual 
ownership in land continues). 

Case IV. The three Rajput cousins, Gayad Singh, Kishan Singh and 
Anoop Singh had a common plot of 189 acres. Of this 50 per cent belongs 
to Kishan Singh and the remaining 50 per cent was owned by Gayad 
Singh and Anoop Singh jointly. But Kishan Singh was cultivating only 
62.5 acres instead of his 94.5 acres and the rest of the land was cultivated 
by the other two cousins equally. In 1960 it was discovered that Gayad 
Singh had transferred the ownership of the entire land (that is 1S9 acres) 
to him by bribing revenue officials. This was revealed when Gayad Singh 
was required to pay agricultural income tax. This resulted in a number of 
conflicts between the cousins and the matter was set right in 1962. (The 
present ease shows how individual land ownership records exist and arc relc 
vant inspitc of the presumed transfer of land ownership to Gram Sabha). 

There were two land disputes in Raghupura. 

Case /. Harka had four sons: Manji, Gahana. Khemji and Vala. Manji 
had only one son. Dhanna. who had no male issue. Dhanna’s only daughter 
wa< married in a neighbouring village. 6 miles away. The land of Dhanna 



was equally divided between Kodra, son of Gahana, Haliya, son of Khem 
ji and Jagji, son of Vala Dhanna’s daughter wanted to get her father’s 
land back But those who at present possess the land were not inclined 
to concede to her request 

Case II Kodra, one of the Mukhyas (Chief) of the dominant Kotecha 
clan of Raghupura forcebly cultivated about 0 25 acre of land belonging 
to Pargis (a numerically inferior dan) The Pargis could not recover the 
land due to two reasons (1) Kodra was a quarrelsome character and hence 
Pargis wanted to avoid a clash with him, and (2) Kodra being a Kotedia, 
the Pargis cannot afford an open conflict with him The Pargis feel thus 
“Our number is so small to have a clash with them ( Kotedias) and hence 
we have to submit to their rulings” It is important to note that this inci 
dent took place three years after Gramdan Even the Gram Panchayat 
took a cold and indifferent attitude to the issue knowing that Kotedias 
are the dominant group in Raghupura and Kodra was the chief of the vil 

The cases of land conflicts from the three Gramdan villages, Idanpura, 
Sukpura -and Raghupura are reported not because such instances are 
uncommon m Indian villages That they occur in villages where land is 
said to be communally owned makes them particularly significant Our 
evidence conclusively demonstrates that individual ownership in land is 
deeply rooted and land hunger is at its apex even in Gramdan villages 

Land Operation Reforms 

So far we have been analysing only one aspect of the agrarian reform 
attempted in Gramdan villages, namely land reform The pattern of land 
operation (farming) visualized in Gramdan villages are, either collective 
farming on the entire land m the village or collective farming plus family 
farming or collective farming plus group farming When total collective 
farming obtains, the entire land and resources of the village are to be 
pooled together and the cultivation is to be a joint venture, the produce 
being shared according to the needs of each household irrespective of 
the contributions (man power) they make If collective farming is under- 
taken ai’ongwitft /amity farming, each family wiu have its own separate 
plot to cultivate in addition to a common plot evolved through the con 
tnbution of a certain proportion of land by each household which will 
be cultivated by pooling common resources, to meet common needs 
Collective farming co-exrsts with group farming when part of the land in 
the village is collectively cultivated and the remaining part being distri 
buted to different groups instead of single families for cultivation 

In none of the four Gramdan villages that we have studied, any attempt 
was made to change the pattern of farming on tfie lines noted above and 



farming was carried on as before (p vc-Gramdan period) on individual 
family basis. However, an attempt was made in Sukpura and Bhoodnn- 
pura to cultivate a common plot of land collectively. The relevant details 
of these arc reported below: 

In Sukpura, the cultivators decided to undertake collective farming 
on 40 acres of land. (The area of cultivated land in Sukpura is 1924 acres). 
Three households agreed to donate 5 acres each and the remaining 25 
acres were to be taken from the commonly owned culturable waste land 
of the village. None of the persons donated the land as they promised. 
In 1961. 16 of the 25 acres of common land earmarked for collective farm- 
ing was brought under plough. The inauguration of this was undertaken 
in the presence of district level government and Sarvodaya officials. The 
farming operations on this 16 acres was jointly done by the villagers under 
the supervision of Gram Sahayak. The first crop cultivated was pulse. 
It was decided by the Gram Sabha to auction the produce after the harvest. 
In a meeting of the villagers, the pulse was auctioned for Rs. 320. The 
highest bidder was one of the erstwhile Patels who was also a member of 
the managing committee of Gram Sabha. 

The bidder did not stand by his commitment and refused to accept the 
produce from Gram Sahayak, when he was asked to take it home. In 
such a situation the only alternative was to invalidate the auction proceed- 
ings. The Gram Sahayak later sold it for Rs. 260 to another person in 
the village. Despite repeated requests and enquiries in Gram Sabha meetings 
no account of the transaction was submitted by the Gram Sahayak and 
he complained that the full payment was not yet made to him. No more 
attempt at collective farming was made since then. The ease of collective 
farming in Sukpura illustrates the utter indifference the villagers have to 
such endeavours and the absolute inefficiency of the Gram Sahayak, 

In Bhoodanpura 30 acres of land was earmarked for collective farming, 
the remaining land being cultivated on individual family basis. The land 
was cultivated pooling common resources and the produce was distri- 
buted based on the contributions in terms of labour and bullocks made 
by each household. Notwithstanding the continuance of collective farming 
on this small plot of land which was roughly 10 per cent of the total cul- 
tivated land (299 acres) it may be noted that no attempt was being made 
in the direction of total collective farming or even group farming. 

We can safely conclude in the light of our evidence that hardly any 
change had come about in Gramdan villages in regard to the pattern of 
land operations (farming). It is interesting to inquire into the reasons 
for the same. The villagers feel that there exists sufficient “co-operation” 
between them in regard to land operations and it is unnecessary to press 


for collective farming They accept co operation as a value and put it 
into practice in several contexts of their activities including farming. 
However, Gramdart movement insists to intensify the value of co-opera 
tion in the context of farming and accords it higher priority The villagers 
visualize an alternative form of co-operation in land operations and feel 
that adequate significance is given to the value of co operation in the con 
text of farming It is rewarding to understand the nature and type of co- 
operation that exists in these villages m regard to farming operations 

A number of factors like geographical environment technological 
level nature of social structure etc are relevant in the context of co- 
operation 12 Of the three geographical regions from which we have selected 
our sample villages co operation in farming operations is rarely found m 
the Dry Area where land is cultivated only once in a year and irrigation 
is non-existent The occasions which call for co operation are few in this 
region Again the availability of cheap agricultural labour further limits 
the necessity of co-operative work group formation In contradistinction 
to this co-operative work group is common and stabilized and operates 
in all spheres of activities in the tribal villages The tradition of co-opera 
tion is stronger among the tribes and paid labour for farming or other 
work a day operations is unknown 

The advent of technology had also reduced the necessity for co-operation 
For instance for the operation of a Charas an indigenous device of well 
irrigation one requires 2 pairs of bullocks and four men An ordinary 
peasant cannot afiord the cost of four bullocks or an average household 
may not have the required manpower In such situations they resort to 
borrowing bullocks and men from other households (kin neighbour 
friends etc ) assuring similar services in return But if a Charas is replaced 
by a Rehat (persian wheel) for irrigation which calls for a heavier capital 
investment one needs only one pair of bullocks and one person for its 
operation The necessity of co operation in the context of irrigation is 
reduced by a heavier capital investment and an efficient technology Thus 
the level of technology in a system may determine the need for coopera 
tion between men and groups 

With these genera! points in mind we attempt an analysis of the pat 
tems of cooperation in farming operations of the villages studied There 
exists no difference in this regard between the experimental and control 

A household is mainly a consumption unit Production is earned out 
in co-operation with several households linked through kinship terntona! 
affinity or economic factors The co operation in production is usually 
confined to manpower though occasionally include lending of bullocks 
or common investment in certain equipments An understanding of the 



types of iaboiir will help explain the patterns of co-operation. We will 
mainly discuss the situation as is found in Idanpura (caste-Hindu) and 
Raghupura (tribal), as representative cases. 

The types of labour usually available and employed arc, family farm 
labour, labour on daily payment in cash or kind, contract labour or sea- 
sonally paid labour, hereditary client labour, exchange labour and com- 
munity labour. 13 The first two categories do not call for any explanation. 
The seasonally or annually paid labourer enters into a contract with a 
farmer by which the former is to work regularly for a stipulated period. 
Different regions in Rajasthan have different rates of payment. In Idan- 
pura the usual payment is 31. maunds of Jowar or Bajara per month. 
In addition, one pair of clothing per season and the tobacco for smoking 
too is given. Such labour is locally known as hali. It is the well-off farmers 
with less of family farm hands or the higher castes who are disinclined 
to take to plough who keep a hali. At the time of our investigation the 
two Brahmin households and a rich Ahir household kept halts in Idanpura. 
In Raghupura there was only one instance of farming through hali. Hali 
is accorded very low prestige, firstly, because only landless men work 
as halis, and secondly, because the institution of hali had grown out of 
debtor-labour. When a poor peasant cannot repay the money he borrowed 
from the rich he becomes his slave labour. The existence of this type of 
labour in Granulan villages is an additional evidence that they are not 
basically different from other villages and exploitation of the poor and 
existence of feudal elements continue. 

Hereditary Client Labour 

There arc different types of hereditary client labour. With the gradual 
disintegration of Jajmani system, the patron-client bond too is weakening. 
However, two types of traditionally bound labour exists even today: 
Kammen and Began labour. The Kammens arc functionaries such as 
carpenters, barbers, potters, etc. who render both economic and ritual 
services on an agreed rate of seasonal payment based on the patron’s 
( Jajntan ) ability to pay and the quantum of service required by him. The 
services rendered by the untouchable castes to the patrons is called Begari. 
The shoe-maker and mender, the tanner and others who are engaged 
in 'polluting* occupations come in this category. The principle and mode 
of payment in Began' and Kammen labour arc the same. In both the cases 
the client is under an obligation to provide labour for his patrons when- 
ever the latter requires it. 

Exchange Labour 

AH the above-mentioned categories of labour involve superior-inferior 



relationships In contradistinction to tins, relationship in exchange labour 
is equahtanan in orientation and the exchange is usual only between 
families or groups of the same caste or stratum When two or more families 
enter into an informal agreement for a season or an year to help each 
other with men and bullocks in irrigation operations it is called badachee 
in Idanpura and hudel in Raghupura The badachee arrangement is usually 
confined to w ell-irrigation operations and partly determined by the owner- 
ship of wells A particular well may be owned by one or more badachee 
groups Thus there were 19 badachee groups operating on 14 wells of 
Idanpura Usually the badachee group is constituted by close kins as the 
ownership of a well belongs usually to a kin-group 

When exchange labour goes beyond the pooling of manpower and m 
eludes the pooling of other resources, it is called Shaja in Idanpura and 
S irk at hi or hi) art in Raghupura There are different types of shaja arrange- 
ments The formulae for division of produce in the case of irrigated land 
is 50 percent for land and water (well) and 50 per cent for bullock, labour, 
and manure In the case of unirrigated land one-third produce goes to 
land and two third for labour, bullock and manure put together Different 
combinations of co operation between the land owner and cultivator 
exists, the basic proportion of share for each factor rematnmg the same 

Community Labour 

When work which cannot be done by a small group (e g bringing wood 
from the forest, thatching the roof of a house, construction of a well, 
etc.) is undertaken, the co-operative work group which is a bigger one 
called lahash in Idanpura and handa in Raghupura comes into function 
The lahash team is paid neither in kind nor in cash, for, this sort of com 
mumty labour is undertaken essentially on an exchange basis When the 
work is over the team is fed sumptuously 

The above listing of the types of labour in Gramdan villages suggest 
that the coercion of upper castes and class still exists as illustrated by 
the practices of hall began and shaja On the other hand, some of the 
traditional co-operations ( badachee , handa or lahash ) desene to be en 
couraged There is no evidence to suggest that the Gramdan workers 
have made an attempt to understand the different types of co-operative 
endeavours that exist in the community and systematically utilize them 
based on their nature and content While some of the practices in this 
context need to be discontinued, practices such as badachee and handa 
should be encouraged for the furtherance of co-operative efforts A syste- 
matic and planned channelization of these traditional forms of co-opera 
tive actions can progressively lead a village community to the intense 
institutionalization of cooperation as a value In suggesting new forms 


of co-operative operations such as collective farming, the \ i I beers fee! 
that the existing forms of co-operative actions are ignored. This builds 
in a resistance to the newly suggested measure, particularly when it sounds 

Organizational Reforms 

Concomitant to the changes prescribed in land tenure and operations, 
organizational innovations too arc visualized to facilitate the changes. 
An important objective of the Gramdan movement is to do away with 
middlemen from all spheres of economic activities. Indigenous financiers 
like money lenders arc to be replaced by Gram Sa/iakari Saniiti (Village 
Co-operative Society). Membership in Co-operative Society is deemed 
as compulsory for households in a Gramdan village. Against this objective 
of organizational reform designed to facilitate the agrarian changes, 
let us examine how far this goal is realised. 

With the launching of national Community Development programme 
in India the role of co-opcralivcs in rural India is considerably enlarged 
and a systematic attempt is being made to start the Gram Sahakari Samiti 
in all villages. We will now examine the origin and development of this 
vital organization in the Gramdan villages under investigation. 

A separate Co-operative Society was established for Idanpura in 1961. 14 
The society had a membership of 34 persons from 30 households (that is 
58 per cent of the total households) and a share capital of Rs. 750 (75 
shares of Rs. 10 each) in 1963. A young matriculate Brahmin was 
appointed as its manager with a monthly emolument of Rs. 20. The 
manager’s salary was met from the grants-in-aid received from the 

Tadix 13 

Caste-wise Distribution of Memberships and Shares in 
tdanpura Co-operative Society 


Membership Shares in 
in Co-op. Co-op. 

(Fi cures in percentages) 


Upper caste 




Middle caste 




Intermediate caste 




Lower caste 









Pahchayat Samiti In 1963 an amount of Rs 6000 was received as loan 
from the Panchayat Sanuh 

Examining the caste-wse distribution of memberships and shares in 
the Co-operative we note that the lower castes benefit least (See Table 
13) With 12 per cent population m the village they have only 8 per 
cent of membership and 5 per cent of shares in the Co-operative The 
representation of intermediate castes too is slightly less than their popu- 
lation in the village While the upper castes have shares and member- 
ships m the Co-operative proportionate to their population, the middle 
castes rob off much of the benefits Thus with a population of 60 per cent 
they have 71 per cent of shares in the Co-operative Again, of the seven 
executive members of the Co-operative Society five are men from middle 
castes and two upper castes Though 13 executive committee meetings 
were held from Nov 1961 to Sept 1964, only two general body meetings 
were conducted Almost all policy decisions were taken by the executive 
committee Much more, the power for financial transactions was vested 
with the Brahmin secretary (Grant Sahayak) who wields considerable 
influence in the affairs of the Co-operative Thus the decision-making 
power of the Co operative rests with upper and middle castes and they 
have a near monopoly over its benefits 

Village Service Co-operative Society of Sukpura was established m 
1959 The 72 members (of the 62 households, only 52 were represented) 
of the Co-operative had 145 shares of Rs 10 each The executive com- 
mittee of the Co-operative was constituted by 8 members of which 7 
were middle caste persons and one from upper caste Table 14 reveals 
that the lower castes were under-represented in the Co-operative whereas 
the upper and middle castes gathered much of the benefit 

Table 14 

Caste wise Distribution of Memberships and Shares in Ihe 
Co-operative Society of Sukpura 


Membership Shares in Population 
in Co-op Co-op 

(Figures in percentages) 

Upper caste 




Middle caste 




Intermediate caste 




Lower caste 








The Raghupura Co-operative Society was. established in I960. In 196? 
it had 30 members representing 28 or merely 50 per cent of the house- 
holds in the village. The total number of shares was only 38. Most of the 
shares and memberships were monopolized by the Kotedins. the leading 
clan of Raghupura. 

The Co-operative Society of Bhoodanpura came into existence with the 
inception of the village itself in 1955. In 1963 it had 34 members holding 
64 shares. All the households in the village had shares in the Co-operative 
and thus it had become an all-village institution. 

Our account of the Co-operative Societies in Gramdan villages reveals 
that (excepting Bhoodanpura) the progress registered in this context 
is very little and that the Co-operatives cater mainly for a segment of 
the population, usually the numerically and economically dominant castes 
or clans. . 

Changes in The Non-agrarian Sector 

So far our discussion was focussed on the changes attempted at the 
agrarian front. Now we will discuss the changes attempted in the non- 
agrarian sector of the economy. Here also, we will take up village by village 
for analysis. No effort was noticed in the ease of Sukpura to introduce 
changes in this respect and hence that village is left out from this analysis. 

Idanpura Gramodyog Vikri Bhandar (Village Selling Store) 

Gramdan visualizes a co-operative economy. Profit as a reward for eco- 
nomic activity is not encouraged. All economic institutions are to be 
service-orientated. With this express aim the Village Selling Store of 
Idanpura was started in February 1962 with a capital of Rs. 3000; 
Rs. 1700 as grant and Rs. 1300 as loan, both received from the Khadi 
and Village Industries Board (an agency to promote economic develop- 
ment in rural areas particularly through cottage industries). Rajasthan. 
A manager was appointed to lookafter the Bhandar, who resigned after 
three months to join a training programme elsewhere. The President 
of Gram Sabha was subsequently appointed as the manager who was 
removed from this position after three months (on 26th July. 1962) for 
mishandling the funds of the Bhandar. A young matriculate of the village 
became the manager and continued successfully till March 1963. till the 
shop was closed down finally. 

Starting with a capital of Rs. 3000 the shop worked for 14 months. 
Neither the loan was re-paid nor the grant was properly used. The asset 
of the shop was only Rs. 692 when it was closed down. During its work- 
ing for 14 months the shop incurred an expenditure of Rs. 1748 and 
Rs. 1 109 was to be realized from the customers. Frequent complaints were 



heard in the village that it was the irresponsibility of the managers which 
resulted in closing down of the shop While this was true in the case of 
the first six months — due to the sudden discontinuance of the first manager 
and the misappropriation of funds by the second manager— such a com 
plaint was irrelevant for the later period It was the irresponsibility of the 
customers who refused to repay the money to the shop which led to the 
closing down of the shop 

The shop was started as a people’s venture to benefit them economically 
and to save them from the exploitation of the village merchants and tra 
ders However, the lack of proper management and self-disciphne of the 
people resulted in the closing down of the shop 

Raghupura Vastra Udpadak Sahakari Samiti (Co-operative Weaving 
Society) ^ 

A Co operative Weaving Society was started m 1958 in Raghupura 
There were 18 members in the Co operative, 13 of them trained hands 
m weaving and 5 untrained A sum of Rs 2130 was expended by the 
Pancha) at Samiti to tram the 13 candidates Of the 18 members of the 
Weaving Society, 16 were Kotedias (the leading clan of Raghupura) and 
only two were Batats (another clan affinally related to Kotedias) Eleven 
of the Kotedias out of 16, belonged to the same lineage The two other 
clans were not represented The trained members contributed Rs. 11 
each as share capital and the untrained Rs 3 50 each thus raising 
a total share capital of Rs 16050 The machinery worth Rs 600 
was supplied by the Pancha) at Samiti A building assessed for Rs 2000 
was constructed for the Society, 50 per cent of the cost being contributed 
by the villagers by way of labour (Shramdan) A subsidy of Rs 1200 
was received from the Khadi Board Thus the total investment amounted 
to Rs 6090 50 of which Rs 4830 was contributed by the government 
and voluntary agencies 

Though the Society was registered m 1958, the actual functioning 
started only m 1960 due to the delay in securing the machines In 1961 
the Cooperative was closed down due to following reasons 

1 The Secretary and the Vice President of the Co-operative migrated 
from Raghupura 

2 The President became a T B patient 

3 The absence of adequate marketing facilities and the difficulty in secur- 
ing immediate payment for the products 

4 General opposition to the Co operative due to the fact that the majo- 
rity of the people in the village were not associated with this venture 
and the benefits being monopolized practically by one leadmg lineage 
of the dominant clan (Kotedia) 

ECONOMIC changes in gramdan villages 

V5 ' 

Amber Parisramalaya (Spinning Training Centre) 

The Amber Parisramalaya of Raghupura was started in 1957 with ten 
sets of Charka under the guidance of two instructors. Thirty-two persons 
were trained in two batches (24 males and S females). The trainees were 
paid a stipend of Rs. 20 for the period of three months. 

In 1958 twenty charkas were supplied while there were 32 trainees. Of 
the 20 charkas distributed 4 were returned by the trainees to the training 
centre and 6 were called back by the instructors due to under utilization 
or non-utilization. Of the remaining 10 charkas kept with the different 
households only 6 were operated regularly. Thus of the 32 trained persons 
only 6 were working on the charka. 

Poor conditions of the charka due to inadequate maintenance, irregu- 
lar and very poor payment were the leading reasons for the failure of the 
Amber Parisramalaya scheme. While a person earns only 50 paisc per 
day by operating the charka, a female labour earns Rs. 1.50 and a male 
labour Rs. 2 per day by working as coolies and one notices an exodus 
during off-season from the villages in this region to far off work spots. 
The persons who operate charka at present are either old ladies or young 
boys. The organizers of the Amber Parisramalaya, however, did not suc- 
ceed in incorporating all persons even in these categories, as members 
of the training centre. 

Gram Ekai Unit (Viljagc Planning Unit) 

One of the leading all-India agencies to promote cottage and small 
scale industries is the Khadi and Village Industries Commission. The 
avowed objective of the agency is to facilitate the emergence of agro-in- 
dustrial communities which fall in line with the Sarvodava ideal, though 
organizationally the Commission operates separately. A Gram Ekai 
unit is established usually for a group of villages and it caters to the 
development of cottage industries in these villages. 

A Gram Ekai unit was started in 1961 for five villages with Raghupura 
as the headquarters. A Gram Sahayak was appointed by Khadi Commis- 
sion and a sum or Rs. 1800 was annually given as grant for his pay, 
rent for the office, etc. Till June, 1963 a sum of Rs. 2600 was granted to 
Raghupurites for soil conservation, bullocks, irrigation, equipments, etc. 
Of this 92% or Rs. 2400 was secured by the Kotedias and of the 7 persons 
benefited through this scheme, 6 were Kotedias. Thus, much of the benefit 
was grabbed by the dominant group in the village which obviously created 
frustration in the village at large, particularly among the minority clans. 

Training in Cottage Industries 

A thorough attempt was made in Raghupura to train persons in certain 



village industries and crafts The training was undertaken cither with the 
help of Rajasthan Sc\a Sangh (a voluntary organization established for 
the uplift of tribals in this region), or the Social Welfare Department of 
Government of Rajasthan or the Dungarpur Panchayat Samm 
(Community Development Block) 

Five persons were trained in carpentry and they work as village car- 
penters besides farming Two persons were trained in black-smithy but 
neither practices it, one being a teacher and another a Gram Sahayak 
One person was trained in oil-crushing but got employed outside and did 
not practise it m the village None of the 13 persons trained in weaving 
(through the Weaving Co-operative) was practising their craft due to the 
closing down of the Co operative A few persons were trained in potter) 
but none manufactures pots, though a few make tiles 

Bhoodanpura Gram Vikriy a Bhandar (Village Sales Store) 

Started in 1938 with a compulsory share capital of Rs 10 per house- 
hold, the Bhandar had a capital of Rs 3250 m 1963, raised through 
business The mam activity of the Bhandar was to supply cereals to the 
households of the village which needed it during hard seasons which 
was collected back with an interest charged in kind, during the harvest 
season In addition to this, the Bhandar also supplied provisions and sta 
tionanes at fair price to the villagers 

Ambar Parisramalay a (Spinning Training Centre) 

A training centre was opened in 1960 for six months to tram the villagers 
in spinning All the households were supplied Charkas but not a single 
household operated u systematically The reasons for the failure are the 
same as in the case of Raghupura 

Training in Cottage Industries 

A systematic attempt was made to tram the villagers in certain of the 
crafts and industries The training was imparted under the auspices of the 
district Sanodaya Mandat In 1963 there were 1 1 persons trained in basket 
making, 5 m building construction, 7 in carpentry, all practising their 
trade in the village 

Tel Gham (Oil Crushing Industry) 

In 1957 a tetgham was started in Bhoodanpura The machine was sup- 
plied by the Panchayat Samm and two persons were trained by the Village 
Industries Council of the District Sarvodaya Council In 1962, the tel - 
gham was stopped because of difficulties faced m marketing the 



Though economic betterment was the express objective behind introduc- 
ing the organizations listed above, certain of them had strong ideological 
moorings and they had failed because of that. Tlius as we have noted that 
the attempts to institutionalize Charka had completely failed both in 
Raghupura and Bhoodanpura (the two villages where such an attempt 
was made), for, they were not economically attractive as compared with 
other available avenues of employment. This experience is a clear pointer 
towards the dysfunctional consequence of ideological insistence in prag- 
matic measures. (Gandhi had insisted that everybody should spin the yarn 
needed for one’s use). It has been noted that the Charkas were put to use, 
if any, by old women and boys and girls below the age of 15. These two 
categories are not easily acceptable in the wider labour market and hence 
if the programme concentrated on them the possibility of success is greater. 
Even this was not done. 

It may also be noted that no attempt was made to train anybody, in 
the castc-Hindu villages, as artisans. The non-artisan castes would have 
refused to take to such a training and the artisan castes may not have 
easily relished it. Thus the association between caste and occupation 
continues undistributed. Even the skill created through the training pro- 
grammes in Raghupura and Bhoodanpura (the tribal villages) is unutilized 
(black-smithy and weaving) or underutilized (pottery). A look at the 
occupational training imparted unfolds that it is very much influenced 
by the notion of ritual purity and pollution and caste status. 

The tribe studied consider the carpenters as ritually superior. The car- 
penters managed to acquire this position partly by imitating Brahmanic 
way of life and they call themselves as Jangid Brahmins. They practise 
vegetarianism, refuse to accept Kaccha food from other clean castes except 
Brahmins, don the sacred thread, etc. This means taking to carpentry 
as an occupation is a gateway to upward mobility for the tribals. Again, 
while those who are trained in pottery are willing to manufacture tiles, 
refuse to make pots dismissing it as the Knmhar’s (potter’s) job. Making 
pot in itself does not involve ritually polluting operations but it is an 
occupation identified with a ritually inferior caste. The training in black- 
smithy goes un-utilized due to two reasons: (i) the position of the black- 
smith in the local caste hierarchy is low and (ii) those who arc trained 
in the craft arc educated persons to whom alternative employment was 
available. It is important to note that none from cither Raghupura or 
Bhoodanpura got trained in leather work or similar ritually degraded 
occupation in which the ‘untouchables' are engaged. Incidentally, this 
unfolds a serious limitation in Sarvodaya attempt to maintain the Varna 
scheme purely on an occupational basis. What the Sarvndayites fail to 
understand is that occupational prestige is an important factor in socsal 


differentiation and stratification and is closely associated with differential 
emoluments 17 

Drain of leadership from the village (e g the Weaving Society of 
Raghupura), ideological insistence in pragmatic measures (the case of 
Charka m Raghupura and Bhoodanpura), poor management and irres- 
ponsibility of the people (e g Village Selling Store of Idanpura), infiltra- 
tion of ‘political elements’ in developmental schemes (e g the five untrained 
members of Raghupura Weaving Society), inadequate linking organisa- 
tions in the form of Marketing Co-operatives, etc (e g the Telghani of 
Bhoodanpura and the Weaving Society of Raghupura), the tendency 
to monopolize the available benefits by the dominant groups (eg the 
Kotedias of Raghupura) are the leading forces which operated against 
the economic changes attempted through the introduction of cottage 
and village industries 

Conclusions , 

From our analysis of the data presented in this chapter the following 
conclusions can be drawn 

1 There exists hardly any difference in the pattern of land holding 
between the experimental ( Gramdan ) and control villages 
1 A substantial portion of land in Gramdan villages is concentrated jd 
the hands of the upper class who are usually the upper castes too, in 
the case of caste-Hmdu villages 

3 Fn most of the Gramdan villages no systematic attempt is made to dis- 
tribute land to the landless and land exchanges are more often 
“spurious ” 

4 The land donations are frequently motivated by material returns or 
personal advantages and the land donated is usually of an inferior 
quality or disputed land 

5 The upper castes and the land owners are equal beneficiaries of land 
distribution, whenever attempted, with the lower castes and landless 
That is, landlessness is not the criterion of land distribution Whenever 
land is allotted to Gramdan villages from neighbouring villages the 
beneSt is grabbed entirely by the dominant group 

6 Indiscriminate distribution of land based on landlessness per se 
violates the maxim ‘land for the tiller’ and is likely to increase the 
dram on village economy and threatens village self-sufficiency, which 
are antithetical to the goals of Gramdan 

7 A number of land conflicts are found in Gramdan villages which shows 
that the concept of collective ownership in land did not emerge and 
the idea of individual ownership in land is deeply rooted and the 
hunger for land is at its optimum 



The land allotment made to Gramdan villages (from neighbouring 
villages) by the revenue officials at the instance of Sarvodaya workers 
have generated inter-village disputes based on land. 

9. The presumed collective ownership of land on the one hand, and 
the actual concentration ofland in a few hands on the other, defeats 
the purpose of progressive legislative measures like land ceiling, estate 
duty, etc., thereby protecting those very vested interest forces which 
the movement hopes to fight. 

10. Collective ownership ofland prevents the possibility ofland entering 
the market thereby insulating the Gramdan village from the outside 
world and rendering both migration and emigration virtually impos- 
sible which is inimical to the process of industrialization which is well 
on its progress in the country. 

11. No noticeable change has come about in land operations (farming) 
in Gramdan villages. Aspects of feudal patterns still persist in the 
context of agrarian relations. 

12. There exists certain types of traditional co-operative efforts in the 
villages studied, the encouragement of which will further the co- 
operative way of life. The Sarvodaya workers did not either discover 
them as yet or did not utilise them systematically. 

13. The Village Co-operative Societies did not emerge as all-village or- 
ganisations. They mostly eater to the needs of a segment of the popula- 
tion. the chief beneficiaries being the numerically and economically 
dominant castes and clans. 

14. The attempt to bring about economic changes through the introduc- 
tion of village industries has largely failed due to the limitations of 
the programme, defective leadership and management, inadequate 
marketing organisations, infiltration of political elements into organisa- 
tional positions, monopolising of the benefits accrued from the pro- 
grammes by the dominant groups and due to the structural inade- 
quacies of the prevalent social system. 

The above-noted conclusions clearly point to the fact that attempts 
to bring about changes at the economic frontier in Gramdan villages 
remain, abortive. 

We have pointed out in Chapter I that, to the extent an ameliorative 
programme occupies a central place on the agenda of a charismatic move- 
ment, the motivations of the collectivity may not be in the direction func- 
tional to the movement. Our evidence suggests that there exists intense 
intergroup rivalry in Gramdan villages to grab the material benefits 
secured through the movement. The situation is aggravated by the instance 
of the special benefits extended by the government to Gramdan villages. 
The net result of this is the perpetuation and protection of vested interest 


Government and Politics in Grnmdan Villages* 

In the previous Chapter we have shown that the attempt to introduce 
changes in the economic sector of Gramdan villages has met with failure 
In the present Chapter we will discuss the nature of government and poll 
tics in these villages Obviously we need to familiarise ourselves with 
the structural context m which the game of politics is plajed 
We have contended in Chapter I that an ideal typical charismatic 
movement will not have any “office ’ or organisational build up How 
ever, if a charismatic movement is to continue and usher in any change 
it needs to develop an organisation to carry forward its activities Whip- 
detailing the characteristics of the Bhoodan Gramdan movement, we have 
noted that the movement has a fairly well knit organisational base with 
all India, state and district level organisations In keeping with the Sar- 
\oda\a principle of decentralisation of power, all the organisations other 
than those at the village level remain as co ordinatmg bodies However, 
the co-ordinating function of these bodies should be viewed as a transi 
tory one, for the ultimate aim is to free the individuals and groups from 
organization (Tantra Mukti ) Moreover, the changes arc initiated at the 
grass root level, villages being the target of change Because of these 
reasons we confine our analysis to the organisational structures introduced 
at the village level 

It is our contention that to the extent there emerges an organisational 
base for a charismatic movement, the likelihood of concentration of power 
in the hands of a few will be fairly certain We concern ourselves with 
the problem of concentration and distribution of power in this Chapter 
If vested interest forces get into organisational positions introduced into 
the villages it will be fatal for the process of change 
The two political organisations introduced in Gramdan villages studied 
were Gram Sabhas (Village Assemblies) and Sanodaya Mandate orCoun 
cils We will deal with these, one by one 

Sa noday a Mandal 

The chief objective of a Mandal was to propagate Sanodaya ideas 
to the villages surrounding Gramdan villages The chief mode of communi* 

GOVERNMENT and politics in gramdan villagls 

10 ’ 

cation was padavatra. though in certain cases the printed medium too 
was put to use. For instance, the Sukpura Mandat had a Sarrodaya 
pmtakalaya (library) under its auspices, though there existed hardly any 
regular readership, It was the responsibility of Sarrodaya 3 fan da! to 
institutionalize the Sarrodaya patra in the Gramdan villages it operated. 
The membership of a Mandat was constituted by Lot. Sevaks and Shanti 

Those who subscribe to the Sarrodaya ethics are required to keep the 
Sarrodaya patra at iiome to keep contributions in the form of cash or 
kind to be handed over for the maintenance of Sarrodaya workers. All 
the households in Gramdan villages are required to keep them. 

Sarrodaya patras were distributed to all households in Idanpura and 
Raghupura in I960 but neither did the people conform to the prescrip- 
tions (keeping handful of grain everyday) nor were these pots collected 
back. Of the 64 households in Sukpura Sarrodaya patras were distributed 
to 16 of them in 1963, but were never collected back. Ail the households in 
Bhoodanpura keep Sarrodaya patras since 1960. Each household keeps 
one Naya Paisa or grain thereof daily. Though the contribution was no- 
minal. the principle was accepted and acted upon. The collections through 
Sarrodaya patra was regularly handed over to the Zita Sarrodaya Mandat. 
It may be noted that Sarrodaya patra was not institutionalized in any 
of the villages except in Bhoodanpura and even there the contributions 
made arc nominal bordering on ritualistic adherence to the principle. 

The Lok Sevaks and Shanti Sainiks together constitute the Shanti 
Sena who pledge to oITcr their life in service of the people. While the Lok 
Sevaks are confined to local services, Shanti Sainiks should be prepared 
to offer their services anywhere whenever situations call for. The mobili- 
zation of Jana Shakti (people's power) to generate social change is to 
be undertaken through these voluntary welfare workers who arc maintained 
from the collections through Sarrodaya patra. The main objective of 
Sarrodaya Mandat being propagation of Sarrodaya ideals, the Lok Sevaks 
and Shanti Sainiks arc required to operate as agents of communication, 
undertaking periodical padayatras in their respective districts. The Sar- 
rodaya Mandats in none of the villages studied conform to this practice 
and more often than not, the padavatra lias become an annual ritual. 

There were only three Shanti Sainiks in Idanpura including the Gram 
Sahayak, the Brahmin Sarrodaya worker who hailed from a neigh- 
bouring village. Of the remaining two, one was the village barber and the 
other an Ahir. employed as a school teacher in another village. There 
was not a single Lok Sevak in Idanpura. 

There were 13 Lok Sevaks and 6 Shanti Sainiks in Sukpura. None of 
these men were from lower castes; 14 being Jats and the remaining Raj- 



puts Thus the positions in the Sar\odaya Mandal of Sukpura were entirely 
filled in by men from privileged castes In Bhoodanpura there were 9 
Lok Seiaks and no Shanti Sarniks These were drawn from the different 
clans All of the 5 Lok Se\aks and Shanti Saimks in Raghupura were 
drawn from the Kotedias, the dominant clan 
In none of the villages the Lok Se\aks and Shanti Saimks were noticed 
to be engaging themselves in any specific activity They had but enlarged 
the bulk of these categories of ‘welfare workers’ at the all-India level by 
enrolling themselves in the Shanti Sena At best, the Shanti Samiks and 
Lok Sevaks in these villages can be compared to the “ordinary” members 
of a political party who are largely innocent of the activities and ideology 
of the party which they claim to represent 

The Grant Sabhas 

Our analysis of the Sar\odaya Mandats makes it clear that this orgam 
sation did not register any progress in any of the villages studied Now, 
we turn to the study of Gram Sabhas The Gram Sabha is a political orga 
nisation introduced with the express aim of decentralisation of decision 
making process at the village level The Gram Sabha consists of the entire 
adult population of the village Its first act is to elect a president and 
executive committee of not less than five persons The tehsildar presides 
over the election The Gram Sabha may also appoint a secretary or such 
other officers and servants for the effective functioning of the Sabha 
The president, secretary and members of the executive committee can be 
removed from office by the Gram Sabha [Of the four Gramdan villages 
that we have studied. Gram Sabha is not estabhshed m one (Raghupura) 
and hence this village is excluded from this analysis] 

The movement conceives of a society free from Danda (political power) 
and Tantra (formal organizational structures) Development of the 
weakest (Antyodaya) and a society of free and independent individuals 
are the motto of the movement Against this background it is interesting 
to examine how far Rajniti (power politics) is replaced by Lokmti (people’s 
politics ) in Gramdan villages To facilitate our discussion we need to keep 
in mind that the Sanodaya polity is based on three important assumptions 
(i) The interests of the individual and the group are harmonious 
00 It is possible to create a polity without power concentration 
(in) The smallness of the community facilitates the participation of all 
group members in the decision-making process 
These notions are interrelated Only when the interests of the individual 
and the group are identical that power dominance becomes meaningless 
and power dispersion become possible The index of power distribution 
among all the members of the community is their equal participation 



in the decision-making process. AH can equally participate only when 
the community is small enough promoting face-to-face interaction, infor- 
mal relationships, intimate involvements, etc. To put it differently, 
communitarian society can operate only when the individual has clo«c 
tics with the groups which surround him. 

We will examine the validity of all the above-noted assumptions on 
which the Sarvodaya polity is based. As a prerequisite to our study it is 
necessary to acquaint ourselves with the political philosophy of Servo- 
el ay a. 

As noted above, the three villages where Gram Sabhas were functioning 
at the time of our investigation were Idanpura. Sukpura and Bhoodan- 
pura. The Gram Sabha in Idanpura was established in 1961. The Gram 
Sabha came into existence in Sukpura in I960. Bhoodanpura's Gram 
Sabha started functioning from I95S onwards. The analysis of the 
working of the three Gram Sabhas must begin by noting that they had 
been in operation at the time of this study for different periods: Idan- 
pura, 24 months; Sukpura, 35 months; Bhoodanpura. 52 months. These 
differences arise not only from the different starting dates but also because 
for some other reasons. Both Sukpura and Bhoodanpura have run 
smoothly over their whole periods, but in Idanpura the Gram Sabha 
had to be suspended. 

The Gram Sabha is constituted by “all adult persons who arc either 
residents of the Gramdan village or own land therein.” 2 which is the deci- 
sion-making body in Gramdan villages. Each Gramdan village acts as a 
separate political entity and enjoys developmental and judicial powers. 
It is required to meet at least once in a month. The Rajasthan Gramdan 
Act I960 gives the below noted powers to the Gram Sabhas: 

1. Once donations of land arc confirmed by law. the ownership of these 
lands, along with all common lands, is vested in the Gram Sabha. 

2. The Gram Sabha is responsible for the payment of land revenue and 
other cesses on all the land in the village, including land under the pri- 
vate ownership of non-donors. Non-donors in the village arc to pay 
the cess and taxes to the Gram Sahha. 

3. The Gram Sabha is a corporate body having perpetual succession 
and a common seal with power to enter into contracts and to acquire, 
hold, administer, and dispose of both movable and immovable 

4. The Gram Sabha has powers to borrow moneys on the security of 
Gram Nidhi (a fund raised through donations, bequests, gifts, or loans 
from the Central or State Government or any local authority or any 
person) or any other property vested in the Gran; Sabha. 



5 The Gram Sabha can remove the president and the executive committee 
from office 

6 The Gram Sabha has authority to deal with criminal and civil disputes 
and it can evict an allottee from land 

The Gram Sabha is thus a very powerful body with judicial and. execu 
tive functions and authority No comparable institution operates in con- 
trol villages and hence no meaningful comparative analysis between 
these two sets of villages is possible in regard to their governments and 
consequently their politics 3 

The Political Philosophy of Sanodaya 
Gandhi valued individual freedom to the fullest extent for he wrote 
"No society can possibly be built on a denial of individual freedom It 
is contrary to the very nature of man ’ * He asked, “if the individual 
ceases to count, what is left of society? ’5 But this individual freedom is 
conceded not that he should exercise it for personal ends On the contrary 
individual freedom alone can equip a man to surrender his freedom volun 
tardy and completely for the service of the society and “ unrestricted 
individualism is the law of the beast of jungle ’ 6 Disinterested service 
to the group is the essence of Sanodaya approach 
The basic assumption in Sanodaya is that the individual s interests 
are in harmony with those of the group Inter personal and inter group 
antagonism is ruled out Life is conceived as harmonious and co operative 
and not conflicting or competitive For, everyone will be thinking for the 
community as a whole In fact J P Narayan calls it a "communitarian 
society’ implying the primacy of the community over the individual 
Differences are apt to occur even in such a society but they are by no means 
irreconcilable and since everything is orientated to the common interest 
there will be an all pervading anxiety to arrive at compromises for common 
good An individual can discharge his duty to the community only when 
he is conscious of his rights and is willing to exercise the same, that is 
participating in the decisional process of the community Thus the society 
is viewed as a completely integrated system 
fn order to realize this harmonious hie all the coercive elements m 
the society should be done away with or minimized, including the state 
“I (Gandhi) look upon an increase in the power of the state with the 
greatest fear because it does the greatest harm to the mankind by des 
troying individuality which lies at the root of all progress ” 7 The state 
represents violence in a concentrated and organized form The individual 
has a soul and hence changeable but the state is a soulless machine 
Vinoba Bhave sounds the same view "We should strive to create a state 
which would not need to exercise its coercive authority” 8 



If the state is not to exercise the coercive authority in the society, who 
will do it? Where will the power in society be located? In Gandhi’s ideal 
state the individual rules himself in such a manner that lie is never a 
hindrance to his neighbour. “In the ideal state, therefore, no political power 
because there is no state .” 9 The way out is. as Vinoba sees it. to create 
Swaiuantra Jana Shakli 10 (the self-reliant power of the people). This 
power of the people is the opposite of the power of violence and is qualita- 
tively different from the power of the State. 

People’s power is to be realized through self-discipline. This will do 
away with the distinction between the rulers and the ruled. In such a 
situation the need of disciplining from above is redundant for. ”... 
every man of society practices self-discipline and the values of socialism 
and co-operates with his fellow-men .’’ 11 ‘‘This brings one to the very heart 
of the problem of Sarvodaya. . .non-party and non-power politics that 
is Lokniti as distinguished from Rajniti or Party and power politics.” 1 * 

How this Janashakti is to be generated and Lokniti established? Vinoba 
secs of no difficulty in this. “The power of Government will be decentra- 
lized and distributed among the villages. Every village will be a state in 
itself .” 13 Thus, in the Sarvodaya scheme a major part of the economic and 
political power should rest in the village and no power should be domi- 
nant in the society. Considerations of majority and minority have no 
relevance in such a system, the government is by consent and consensus 
and not by bargaining and coercion. 

It is important to remind ourselves here the nature of Sarvodaya poli- 
tics and the meaning of participation in Sarvodaya polity. Vinoba speaks 
of Kartritta Vibhajan or distribution of work among individuals without 
creating an administrative bureaucracy the objective of which is to avoid 
concentration of power . 14 Narain rules out the significance of power in 
a Sarvodaya polity when he notes: “Majority and minority would have 
no relevance in a social context like that ( Graindan ). Ever}’ one in such 
a context, in such a changed village, would be thinking not for himself 
but for the community as a whole .’’ 15 Tiiis community orientation of the 
individual is crucial, for. it is through serving the community that the 
individual participates in community affairs. Sarvodaya politics is not 
orientated to power but directed to service. Altruistic orientation of the 
individual prevails. 

The individual’s quest to serve the community would then inevitably 
lead him to participate in the affairs of the community and an important 
aspect of Sarvodaya is “a feeling in every individual that he is the servant 
of the community and it is his duty to do all that is possible for him to do 
to serve the community .” 16 Doing all that is' possible by every individual 
implies active and equal participation by all in the community 


decision-making process Decision-making implies dealing with power 
But power has no relevance in the Sanodaya polity One can participate 
only through service to the community It is in this sense that the 
participation in the decision-making process by the individual in the 
Sanodaya polity is to be understood 

While Sanodaya aims to “manufacture” an altruistic individual the 
“factory” in which this process is hoped to be undertaken is small village 
Narayan is categorical here He says “ if there is any level of self- 
government at which the fullest participation of the people is practicable, 
it is at the village level It is only there that direct democracy can ade- 
quately function ” 17 Man is a product of both nature and culture and the 
blending of the two is possible only in comparatively smaller communi- 
ties Narayan states it very clearly “self-government, self-management, 
mutual co-operation and sharing, equality, freedom, brotherhood-all 
could be practised and developed for better if man lived in small com 
munities it is undoubted that life in small communities, permitting 
and promoting personal relationships, will be more suited to the realisa- 
tion of Sanodaya ideals ” 18 The Sanodaya ideal is to evolve a communi 
tarian society in which the individual voluntarily surrenders himself to 
the service of the community He participates in the community affairs 
through service and thus facilitates the realization of Sanodaya ideals 
It is through this process that the dawn of participating democracy is 
hoped to be reached Participation by all group members is easier if the 
community is small 

These conceptions are, of course, not peculiar to the proponents of 
Sanodaya Several writers have stressed the notion that smallness and 
homogeneity of the community favour effective participation 19 It has 
also been argued that the loss of community of an integrated and 
coherent belief system have created mahse, anomie and alienation which 
threatens the very operation of democracy 20 The underlying assumption 
in the argument is that community values are functional for political 
participation that they are stronger in small communities and that demo- 
cracy can survive more easily in such ‘integrated’ social systems Our 
evidence, on the contrary, suggests that community values are more 
often than not dysfunctional for the participation of individuals in the 
secular political processes 21 The reason for this is to be discovered in 
the nature of the society itself 

The political process is not separated from other social processes 
Role relationships in non-western societies as India is diffuse and hence 
political roles 22 , with the result an alteration in one role presses for con- 
comitant change in other roles The individual has total commitment and 
holistic orientation to groups His loyalties, allegiances and relationships 



with the group assume crucial significance in understanding the political 
processes in these societies. Moreover the degree of attachment of the 
individual to his group is an important factor in facilitating or hindering 
his free action in the political context and in small communities the in- 
tensity of this attachment is likely to be more. Keeping this in view we 
advance the hypothesis that the exclusive involvement of the individual 
with the group that he represents is dysfunctional for the effective opera- 
tion of the secular political processes involved in the working of a self- 
governing community particularly when his attachment is predominantly 
primordial .’ 3 This hypothesis, however, docs not ignore the importance 
of the community values in perpetuating harmonious relations of the indi- 
vidual with the group especially in the extra-political sector of life. Never- 
theless it suggests that while certain aspects of community life facilitates 
co-operative action (not necessarily political) the ‘overdose' of the same 
will be dysfunctional in certain other spheres (particularly political). 
The foundation on which rural community life in India is built are joint- 
family. kinship, sub-caste, territorial groups and other in-groups. And 
“no one can be regarded as an individual taken as he stands; he is always 
to be placed in terms of the group to which he belongs .” 24 Therefore, it 
may be interesting to explore how far the Indian individual with particu- 
laristic bases of life is capable of playing a role in the context of the 
secular democratic political institutions. 

It is necessary to recall here that only groups with particularistic 
ascriptivc orientation arc likely to release dysfunctional consequences 
due to the over identification of the individual with them. In such a group 
the element of rationality is relatively less and the possibility of indivi- 
dualization remote. In a group where rationality is institutionalized, the 
individual autonomy is great and the members exclusive involvement may 
only facilitate the operation of such processes as involved in secular poli- 
tics. However it is rewarding to keep in mind that the possibility of complete 
integration of a group is very remote if it permits individualization and 
accepts rationality as its dominant value. The reason for this is that such 
groups appeal only to a segment of the members' personality or to put it 
differently in such groups relations, arc functionally specific and affectively 
neutral. In contradistinction to this the individual's ties with the group 
are diffuse and affective engaging the total personality of the group member 
in particularistic ascriptivc orientated social systems. It is against this 
background of individual’s orientation to group that we have suggested 
the aboxe hypothesis. Political process demands only segmental involve- 
ment of the individual with the political group. But if the nature of the 
social system is such that it demands holistic orientation and total commit- 
ment to groups the individual’s ability to think independently and 



rationally will be cabbmed cribbed and confined 
The role of legislation 

Once certain ends are postulated, the means of realising these ends 
should be identified While Satyagraha (non-violent persuation) was the 
instrument devised by Gandhi to attain ends, he did not rule out legisla- 
tion For, “Legislation imposed by the people upon themselves is non- 
violence ” 25 Vmoba thinks in the same vein when he wants to 
change men through Vichar Shasan, that is peaceful conversion of people 
However, he too recognizes the role of legislation in bringing about 
change “When every heart feels that the present order is unjust, when 
pity is created and there is proper understanding of the situation then the 
right sort of legislation can come ” 27 Thus, while the Sanodayites do 
recognize the instrument of law as a possible weapon of change they 
insist on the proper preparation of the people and society as a pre-requt 
site for the introduction of law A number of legislations were passed 
in different States of India to legalize the donations made under Bhoodan 
and Gramdan , but evidence does not suggest that the preparation has been 
everywhere adequate However, this shows how the government has been 
fathering the interests of the movement 

The leaders of the Bhoodan Gramdan movement are not legislators 
At the same time it cannot be assumed that the law makers are convinced 
followers of the Sanodaya philosophy Many legislations are passed under 
compulsions of political expediency The legislators need not and may not 
be earnest in realizing the ideology, but they need assert their commit 
ments verbally The Gramdan legislations undertaken by the party m 
power is politically significant, for it falls in line with the lip sympathy 
paid to Gandhian ideas Moreover, the problem sought to be solved through 
Gramdan (the re-moulding of the agrarian structure of the country, to 
start with) is of pivotal significance (we have pointed out earlier how 
the movement has emerged as a response to the structural inadequacies 
of Indian agrarian system) Several land reform legislations have been 
attempted by the Government and any measure or movement which is 
wedded to agrarian reforms naturally enlists popular sympathy and the 
Government cannot ignore the same Therefore, the Gramdan legislations 
are to be viewed as a political compulsion rather than a measure or 
conviction on the part of the law makers in the Sanodaya philosophy 
What is significant for the present analysis is not the motivation of the 
legislators but the governmental association with the movement as an 
aiding agent to realize the Sanodaya ideals 

Having discussed the leading assumptions contained in the political 
philosophy of Sanodaya and assessed the role of law as an instrument 



of change in the Sanodaya scheme. let us turn to an analysN of the power 
structure of these villages. 

Power struct lire 

Before wc embark upon the analysis of the working of Gram Sabha it 
is necessary to acquaint ourselves with the power structure in these vil- 
lages, and this for two reasons: (i) the power pool may extend beyond 
the representatives on the formal power bodies, and (it) the real power 
holders may not be on the formal power bodies. Power pool is constituted 
by those who can exert influence in the decisional processes in community. 
The power positions may be hereditary and fixed (e.g. lineage headship) 
or elected and circulating (e.g. Sarpanch ); they may be technically (Gram 
Sevaks or village development workers) or ideologically orientated ( Shanti 
Sainik or peace corps ‘soldiers'). All these positions equip the occupant 
to exercise influence in the community. Now, a particular person may 
occupy more than one position. The occupation of one position may 
facilitate the subsequent occupation of another position (e.g. a lineage 
head may be elected Sarpanch). The group, which constitutes the power 
holders both real and formal, is viewed as a pool because at any one time 
all the persons who can be regarded as influencing the community life 
are drawn from this group. Over a period of time new persons may be 
recruited into this pool and others ejected from it. 

Rajasthan had a fairly developed feudal system and the jagirdar (land- 
lord) and his caste (Rajputs) obviously wielded considerable influence; 
they continue to be influential even today, inspitc of abolition of jagir- 
dari. Another group of men who counted in the village were the scnii- 
officials who assisted the revenue officials of the Raja or the Government 
to collect land taxes and also derived prestige from these connections. 
Because of their positions they were looked upon as administrators of 
justice and conciliators of quarrels. They are known as patch in Idan* 
pura, mukhya in Sukpura, and gamati in Bhoodanpura. Because these men 
were important and influential, these titles came to be synonyms of pres- 
tige positions. While any important person may in this way come to be 
referred to by these terms, there remains a difference between the revenue 
pate! and the ordinary patch The number of patch in a village depends 
on the size of the village, the structure and functioning of caste groups, 
the number and size of lineages, etc. 

Ollier traditional power positions are lineage headships and caste 
leaderships. When a caste is numerically inferior or depressed (untouch- 
ables) usually there will be only one person representing its interests 
in village affairs and he will be treated as the spokesman of the group 
bv the villagers. It can happen that such a caste has no effective power 



and in that case the group will tend to align itself with one of the factions 
in the village When a caste is numerically superior or economically 
dominant it is very unlikely that the entire caste group will be represented 
by only one or even two persons The usual pattern is that each gotra or 
even each lineage vies with the others for leadership in the village and each 
will have its own representatives 
With the introduction of Panchayati Raj the Co operative Movement, 
and the Community Development Programmes, new power positions ha\e 
been created in rural India In the Gramdan villages too, statutory pohti 
cal bodies like Gram Sabha executive committees, economic institutions 
like Sahakan Sanutis (Co operative Societies), Gramodyog Vikn Bhandar 
(village selling store) and social service and propaganda agencies like 
Gram Sanodaya Mandals (Village Service Councils) and Shanti Sarniks 
(peace corps) have opened up new power positions Traditional and mo 
dern power positions in each of these villages must now be examined 

Power personnel and groups 

Idanpura has 51 households drawn from the following caste groups 
Ahir (peasants) 24, Rajput 9 Khati (carpenters) 6, Bhalai (previously 
leather workers and now rope-makers) 6, Brahmin 2, Jat (pea 
sants) 2 Nai (barber) 1, and Kumhar (potter) 1 (see Table 15) The 
Rajputs claim common descent but belong to two lineages The Khatis 
and Bhalais also have two lineages each The Ahirs of Idanpura belong 

Table 15 

Castewisc Distnbulion of Power Personnel in Idanpura 

No of No of repreien- 

No of No of Adults personnel tatties on the Cram 

S house- Sabha Executive 

No Caste holds Committee 

Male Female Male Female 

1 Ahir 

2 Rajput 

3 Khati 

4 Bhalai 

5 Brahmin 

6 Jat 

7 Nai 

8 Kumhar 


24 46 

9 7 

6 9 

6 10 

2 3 

2 6 

1 1 

i i 

51 83 

43 10 

12 3 

8 2 

9 1 

2 3 

6 2 

82 22 


0 It 


to the Nandavanshi sub-caste which is an endogamous group. The sub- 
caste is divided into a number of exogamous golras and each has a number 
of lineages. The Ahirs of Idanpura belong to six gotras. The Gogad 
gotra has only two households both of the same lineage. In spite of its 
numerical insignificance litis is a major lineage for the revenue pare! 
comes from this group. The Kudawat gotra is numerically most important 
with 15 households belonging to two lineages. The non-revenue 
paid who occasionally challenges the revenue pate! is from this group. 
Both lineages of this gotra arc reckoned as major ones. The Totuwal gotra 
with 4 households is relatively insignificant. The Gancwal gotra has only 
one household but the leader of neutral faction belongs to this. There 
are two other gotras with one household each making a total of 24 Ahir 
households. The gotra identification is observed to be very significant. 
Normally one refers to an Ahir not as such but by his gotra: c.g. Nnthu 

Of the 165 adults in Idanpura. 22 persons, ail males, constituted the 
power pool at the time of this study. (For a list of the persons in the power 
pool see appendix). The castewise distribution of power personnel and 
their membership of the executive committee of the Gram Sabha is pre- 
sented in Table 15. The power pool includes the executive committee 
members. But the proportionate representation of different castes on the 
committee is shown separately since this is the most forma! and important 
power-wielding body in the villages. The Brahmins are over-represented, 
the Ahirs arc slightly under-represented, the lower caste Bhalais much more 
so. This is when all the power positions are equated. But in reality these 
positions have differing authority, meaning and significance associated 
with them. The general position is that the Ahirs and Rajputs have a 
near monopoly of the power pool and the effective operation of other 
power holders is possible only through alignment with them. The Ahirs 
arc numerically superior and economically dominant, while the Rajputs 
continue to count due to their erstwhile economic dominance being the 
landowning aristocracy and the consequent positions in the power struc- 
ture. One group is headed by Ram Narain and Nathu and includes as 
another leading figure Ram Dev, the educated village barber. Another 
group is led by Shuja supported by Ganpat. The third group, who style 
themselves neutrals, is led by Bhuvana who is the only one of his gotra 
in the village. 

Early in 1961 Shuja was chosen by uncontested election as the ward 
member to the Bobas -Panchayat of which Idanpura then formed a part. 
This success showed the strength his faction could mobilise. It was also 
needed if Shuja was to maintain his position vis-a-vis Ram Narain. for 
the latter was a candidate for the office of Sarpanch. In the event Ram 


Narain was not successful, votes from the other villages defeated him 
But when in July 1961 the Gram Sabha was established in Idanpura Ram 
Narain became a leading contestant for the presidency The Shuja faction 
opposed Ram Narain's candidature vigorously by putting a twenty two 
year old Ahir matriculate of the Kudawat gotra as their candidate (Ram 
Naram was thirty seven and read only up to 7th standard of the Hindi 
vernacular) While Ram Naram had never enjoyed the undivided loyalty 
of his village, he became particularly unpopular at this time He was be- 
lieved to have misappropriated the funds of the Village Co-operative 
Society and the Block Development Officer concerned had filed a case 
against him, noting that his liability amounted to Rs 3,040 and 98 maunds 
of wheat In these circumstances even his supporters were not sure that he 
could win This situation combined with insistence on the principle of 
unanimous choice, led to the emergence of a compromise candidate, 
Raghunathdan, third son of the former jagirdar (and brother of Ram 
Narain) who was ‘unanimously’ elected President Ram Dev, the educated 
village barber and a supporter of the Ram Narain Nathu group was elected 
Vice-President. Of the remaining eight members of the executive committee 
one is the ineffective lower caste member and two are neutrals (one Ahir, 
and one carpente) The other five members belong to two factions, three 
to Ram Narain’s and two to Shuja’s Thus the Gram Sabha executive 
committee included five members of Ram Naram’s faction, two of 
Shuja’s, and three of the politically neutral or ineffective group (The 
other member is the Gram Sahayak who is an outsider and a paid 

It is significant that neither of the patels (Nathu and Shuja) nor the 
leading descendant of the former jagirdar or the lineage head of the second 
lineage of Rajputs (Ram Naram and Ganpat) — all of whom lead the power 
groups in the village — are not on the executive committee of Grant Sabha 
Of the three lineage heads on the executive committee one is the untouch- 
able and another is of the carpenter caste, both of whom are included 
to satisfy and silence the castes they come from and are not significant 
in the context of decision-making process in the village The only lineage 
head from the Ahirs is Mahadev Thus the traditional power personnel 
is almost totally absent from the formal political representative body 
This does not mean that they have become irrelevant or unimportant in 
the power context of the village In fact they remain the power reservoirs 
of the village 

We use the term ‘power reservoir’ to denote the persons or groups which 
are really powerful in a community Power reservoirs may not be on the 
formal power bodies, such as the Gram Sabha executive committee in 
the present context, and yet they count in community affairs and may 


1 15 

run the entire business from back scenes. Parallel to this, the concept of 
power exerciser is needed in order to denote those persons v»ho may not 
be powerful in reality even though they handle power as a result of being 
office-holders. The power pool in a community is formed by the power 
reservoirs and power exercisers. The latter categories are not mutually 
exclusive; power exercisers may very well also be power reservoirs. A 
power exerciser may be able to use his position so as to become a power 
reservoir, on the other hand, without being a power exerciser one can be 
a power reservoir. If the power reservoirs are not also power exercisers 
or if the power exercisers arc not falling in line with the power reservoirs, 
political instability is likely to ensue. Conversely, political stability is as- 
sured when power reservoirs arc also power exercisers or power exerci- 
sers arc under the thumb of power reservoirs. 

That the power reservoirs of Idanpura arc not on the executive commit- 
tee of the Gram Sabha has already been noted. This was a sufficient reason 
(not a necessary' one) for the perpetuation of restlessness, in the political 
firmament of Idanpura. It culminated in July 1962 in the removal of 
Raghunathdan, President of the Gram Sabha, from office by a no-con- 
fidence motion. The motion was moved by the leader of the neutral group 
in a fairly well-attended Gram Sabha meeting. The immediate reasons 
given for this move were that Raghunathdan had endorsed the illegal 
claims of one of his cousins to a portion of the pasture land in the village 
and that he had misappropriated funds of the Gram Vikriya Bhandar 
of which he had been for some time the manager. 

There are 64 households in Sukpura, drawn from the following castes: 
Jat 39, Naiks (a dctribaliscd untouchable caste) 12, Rajputs 9, Brahmin 
1, Kayasth 1, Nai 1, and Chainar (leather worker) 1. (See Table 16). 
The Naiks in Sukpura belong to two different lineages though they 
are formally represented as one group in village politics. The Rajputs of 
Sukpura belong to one lineage. There arc a number of gotras from which 
the Sukpura Jats arc drawn. The Bhamboo gotra have five households, 
all of the same lineage. This is a major lineage and includes a revenue 
patch There arc two households of the Shivar gotra who are afimally 
related to the Biiamboos. The Khileri gotra have 27 households and 
are drawn from five lineages, three of which have revenue patch and arc 
reckoned as major lineages. One of the other two lineages has only one 
household while the other has seven. Inspitc of the numerical strength 
of the latter it is insignificant in the village power context. The remain- 
ing five Jat households belong to different gotras and arc affinally related 
to Khileris. 

Twenty-one persons constitute the power pool of Sukpura (see appen- 
dix for details). A look at the caste composition of the power pool in 



Table 16 

Castewise Distnbution of Power Personnel m Sukpura 

No of A o of adults 

No of power 

No of 





tatives on 

the Gram 


Execuit \e 

Male Female Male Female Committee 

1 Jat 







2 Naik 






3 Rajput 







4 Brahmin 





5 Kayasth 







6 Nai 






7 Chamar 













Sukpura as presented in Table 16 is very revealing The Jats have a vir- 
tual monopoly of the power positions and of the 17 power positions 
they hold as many as 1 1 belong to Khileri Jats As in Idanpura, the Raj- 
puts have their due share m the power pool and the lower castes are only 
nominally represented Once more, not a single power position is occupied 
by a woman It is significant, however, that in the case of Sukpura members 
of the executive committee of Gram Sabha are patels of the village The 
President, though a Khileri Jat, is not a power reservoir, his is the only 
household in his lineage and he did not hold any power position (such as 
patel) in the traditional context He was in fact a compromise candidate 
While the virtual Jat monopoly of the power pool could be explained in 
terms of their numerical strength, the Rajputs’ economic dominance 
secures for them a proportionate share (The average land holding of 
Rajput households is 50 acres, whereas the average village holding is 30 5 

There are six patels in Sukpura, of whom four are Jats (all of them re- 
venue patels), one Rajput, and one Naik (lower caste), bolh these being 
non-revenue patels The power alignments are such that none of these 
patels can be taken to be the representative of the entire village Thus prior 
to the advent of Gratndan when the village was a ward under the Singhad 
Panchayal, it was Handas (a compromise candidate) who w as unanimously 
elected ward panch But by the acceptance of Gramdan the necessity of 
establishing a Gram Sabha with an executive committee arose, which open- 



cd up possibilities for the representation of the patch on the committee 
in a formal official capacity. All the six patch have become members of 
the executive committee with Haridas as its President. 

Ram Suka leads one of the Jnt factions. There arc 13 households in 
his group, of which one is that of the village barber. The remaining 12 
are Jats belonging to two lineages. Muktinda is another Jat faction leader 
having the support of 8 households, of which 6 are of one lineage. Narayan 
leads a numerically important faction of 12 households, 9 of which belong 
to one lineage. Chatura’s faction includes S households, of which 5 are of 
one lineage and also the Charnar household. Nahar Singh is the spokes- 
man of the Rajputs in the village. All the 9 Rajput households, except 
one, are related by blood. The Naiks have two leading lineages with 7 
and 5 households. In spite of the occasional challenges to the ehieftanship 
of Jetta, it is he who represents the lowest caste on the executive committee 
of Gram Sabha. 

The structure and functioning of power groups in Sukpura, as in Idan- 
pura, arc such that the effective leadership exists only at the faclion level. 
This means that the all-village leader has to be a compromise choice. 
To this extent any person elected as the representative of the entire village 
remains a mere power exerciser. The power reservoirs are at the faction 
level. In Sukpura. however, the choice of the former ward panch as com- 
promise candidate for the presidency and the presence of all six patch 
as committee members has resulted in there being no change in the nature 
of the power structure or in the constitution of power personnel follow- 
ing the introduction of Gramdan. The Gram Sabha became a mere main- 
tainor of status quo. 

As has already been noted, Bhoodanpura is a tribal village rtewly estab- 
lished to rehabilitate the landless. Of the 36 households originally offered 
land only 30 have finally settled down. The 30 households arc distributed 
into S clans. The power positions in this village are executive committee 
memberships in Gram Sabha, Gram Sudhar Committee and Sahakari 
Bhandar. There arc 9 lok scraks in Bhoodanpura. The patcl is newly 
elected and his position is not hereditary. Since the inhabitants arc mi- 
grants and the movement of kin groups was not wholesale, lineage 
headship as a power position is non-existent. Thus the two important 
hereditary positions, lineage headship and patcl, do not exert any decisive 
influence in Bhoodanpura. Again, near economic equality obtains in the 
village since the lowest land holding is 7 acres and the highest 9 acres. 

Twelve persons form the power pool of Bhoodanpura. The distribution 
of power between the clans is shown in Table 17. 

Of the twelve persons which constitute the power pool, ten are on the 
cxccutixe committee. As in Sukpura. the power exercisers are power 



Tabus 17 

Clan wise Distribution of Power Personnel in Bboodanpura 


No of 

No of Adults 

Male Female 

No of power 

Male Female 

No of Represen 
tatives on 
Gram Sabha Exe 
cutive Commit 

Male Female 








4 1 








1 — 








1 — 








— — 








2 — 
















1 — 








~ - 







9 1 

reservoirs too Once more, political stability results; the Gram Sabha 
has already worked for 52 months While representation is distinctly 
uneven— the Nenamas over-represented and the Leraberwars, Dendores 
and Kharads unrepresented-unhappy political consequences seem to be 
avoided This may be because all the competing clans are quite small in 
relation to the village as a whole Indeed, apart from a few instances of 
friction, mtergroup relations are harmonious The coincidence of the power 
reservoirs and power exercisers and the number of small clans go some way 
m accounting for this, but there may be other factors, such as the absence 
of hereditary power positions, the absence of age-old friendships or en 
mities since the inhabitants are new migrants from different villages, 
near economic equality as between households, and the absence of tern- 
tonal groupings which co-exist with clan-clusters At the same time it is 
important to note that the power pool is quite limited m size 

Our analysis of the power structure of the three villages points to the 
following conclusions 

1 Those who constitute the power pool are a minonty and power posi- 
tions tend to concentrate in a few hands 

2 Numerically superior castes (Ahirs and Jats) and economically or 
politically dominant ones (Rajput) have a preponderance in the power 
pool (the reference here is not only to the number of positions oc- 
cupied but also to the power associated with such positions) 



3. If the power exercisers and power reservoirs are not the same, politi- 
cal instability can arise. Conversely, when they arc the same, there 
is every possibility or political stability. 

4. Extreme identification of faction leaders with their groups results 
in their becoming unacceptable to the village as a whole. This in 
turn leads to the selection as all-village leaders of compromise can- 
didates who arc usually mere power exercisers and hence ineffective. 

5. Where hereditary power positions, age-old enmities, marked econo- 
mic inequalities, and decisive numerical superiority of any single group 
arc missing, harmonious inter-group relations arc facilitated. 

The decision makers 

The Gram Sabha, constituted by the entire adult population, is deemed 
to be the decision-making body in a Gramdan village, and legislative, 
judicial, and executive powers arc vested in it. In order to assess the effec- 
tiveness of Grant Sabhas we must know the number of Gram Sabha meet- 
ings convened and the number of persons who count in the decision- 
making process. 

By definition the executive committee of Gram Sabha is only to imple- 
ment the decisions taken by the latter. But in practice the executive com- 
mittee takes decisions on a number of policy matters. 

Table 18 shows that in Idanpura and Sukpura meetings of the Gram 
Sabha arc much less frequent than those of the executive committee. 
It is in the latter that the bulk of decisions arc taken and the 
committee members arc the men of influence. In Bhoodanpura, on the 
’ other hand, Gram Sabha meetings are more important. However, even 
here it is not safe to conclude that there is anything like mass participation 
in decisions. Although it is the usual practice that decisions made at 

Taiux 18 

Types of Meetings and Participation in Decision-making in GramJan 


A 'ante of 


of the 
of Gram 
( in months) 




No. of A verage 
committee percent- 
meetings age of 

No. of 

A verage 
of adult 































executive committee meetings are endorsed by the signature (or thumb 
impressions) of all those present, the same does not hold of Gram Sabha 
meetings, there usually only the Khas Admi (important persons) in the 
village will sign This group may be taken as constituting the effective 
participators The validity of this group as an operational indicator of 
political influence was supported by the opinion expressed by villagers 
and by other observations By this test, Bhoodanpura.for all its advantages 
of smallness, homogemty, and harmonious inter-group relations fails to 
show any widespread participation or power dispersion 
This group of those whose signatures are thought important is of course 
larger than the group of executive committee members, but it may usefully 
be compared with the membership of the ‘Power Pool ’ 

Table 19 

The Power Pool and the Decision Making Group m Gramdan Villages 

Name of 

No of Adults 

Percentage of 
adults in 

Pom er pool 

Percentage of 
adults who 
signed in the 

Gram Sabha 




17 5 



10 6 






In Sukpura and Bhoodanpura the power pool is the larger, in Idanpura 
it is smaller This difference is explained by two factors In Sukpura 
and Bhoodanpura formal and real power are held on the whole by the 
same people, but evidently only proportion of the power pool is of key 
importance In Idanpura, on the other hand, there are many holders of 
formal positions of power whose signatures are taken as a matter of course 
while there is then a further group of people who really count and their 
signatures are obtained as a matter of necessity Secondly, the Idanpura 
situation of tension and conflict leads to constant mobilisation of full 
faction strength 

Inter-group relations 

Our discussions hitherto throw serious doubt on the possibility of 
substantial dispersion of power even in small communities It remains 
to be examined whether the other assumption of Gramdan philosophy, 
■that of harmonised interests, and in particular to consider evidence bear- 
ing on the counter-hypothesis that over-involvement of the individual 
in the group in dysfunctional for secular politics Idanpura and Sukpura 



have each had their burning issues and it would be instructive to examine 

We had reported in detail the pasture land problem in Idanpura. (See 
Chapter V). This had posed a challenging problem for the Gram Sabba 
to tackle. The factional groupings and identifications that obtained in 
the village had caused this. Though Ganpat and Ram Narain belonged 
to the same gotra and believe themselves to be in the same ancestry they 
belong to different factions. Ram Narain was always looked upon as a 
A 'eta (leader) in the village; Ganpat on the other hand could not take such 
a large part in village politics because he was employed in government 
service and consequently often away from the village. 

When the land which was formerly used as pasture land was put under 
cultivation the villagers found it extremely difficult to graze their cattle. 
Naturally the problem was frequently discussed in the Grant Sahha> 
By distributing 31.5 acres of'his land temporarily for cultivation to seven 
leading members of his (Shuja) faction, Ganpat had increased the involve- 
ment of his faction in the issue, thereby preventing the problem of pasture 
land becoming one in which he and the rest of the village were on opposite 
sides. Ram Narain had to follow the same course of action. The villagers 
are now divided into two camps on this issue. While the problem confronts 
all of them equally, their factional identification makes it impossible 
for them to arrive at any solution agreeable to all. Both groups argue for 
the surrender of the allotted land by the persons belonging to the opposite 
camp. This has been the burning problem which has been more frequently 
discussed than any other in the Gram Sablta; yet in two years of its working 
no solution could be found. 

The ease illustrates that the nature of village politics is considerably 
conditioned by individual interests. Ganpat saw his interest as better 
served by a (no doubt temporary) distribution of 31 acres than by an 
exchange from which he would obtain only 15 acres. Ram Narain for 
his part would not risk making the first move. The villagers who identi- 
fied themselves with the faction leaders also pursued their interests as they 
saw them. Yet pasture-land is equally necessary for the entire village and 
lienee to take sides with a person or group is to ignore the common 
interest. Initially the problem was one between two individuals on the one 
hand and the rest of the village on the other and both Ram Narain and 
Ganpat could have been persuaded or coerced into surrendering their 
allotted land, had the villagers voiced their dissent together. Instead, 
the villagers, some for reasons of immediate gain, others from pressure 
of various kinds, allowed themselves to be ranges! on the side of individual 
sub-groups, blocking a settlement of the dispute and ignoring a dearly 
all-village interest. 



Sukpura is situated in the and zone of Rajasthan and the perpetual 
problem of the villagers is scarcity of water Their two main sources 
of drinking water are ram water collected during the monsoon and stored 
in deep tanks constructed in the form of wells, and ponds where ratn 
water collects The well ofT households usually ha've water tanks of their 
own The usual practice is that when water is available in the village 
pond all draw water from it In addition those who own tanks take water 
from the pond m big vessels drawn by bullocks and store it in their pn 
vate tanks The result is obvious When the water in the village pond 
dries up (as it usually does) those who have tanks of their own continue to 
draw water from them while others have to go out of the village to bring 
water from a distance of four or five miles In order to remove the difli 
culties arising from this situation the Rajput pat el who is a member of 
the Gram Sabha executive committee proposed at the meeting on 31 
January 1963 that tank owners should draw water from the village pond 
only for current consumption and not for filling their tanks The subject 
was brought up at all the subsequent meetings But no decision was taken 
and every time the discussion was postponed 

It is important to note that of the 19 private tanks in Sukpura 18 are 
owned by Jats and 5 of the 8 executive committee members are Jats A 
decision to stop the drawing of water from the village pond to fill privately 
owned tanks would affect their personal interest Moreover, by taking 
such a decision the Jat committee members would risk becoming un 
popular with their supporters The rest of the population of Sukpura 
attributes the postponement of the decision to self interest on the part 
of the Jats To the Jats their attitude is natural for they are only main 
taming the status quo or defending their own interests And they believe 
that the proposal was made only to inconvenience them This example 
clearly illustrates how the individual interests of committee members 
arc a hindrance in the context of the welfare of the bulk of the population 
of the community This case also shows that the individual identification 
with the immediate group (here caste) beyond a certain point hinders his 
acting as an independent unit free of his traditional chains in the decision- 
making process 

The dysfunctional consequences of individual interest and the over 
involvement of the individual with the group are illustrated in these two 
cases We did not observe any similar instance in Bhoodanpura A tenta- 
tive explanation of this follows At the time of the investigation Bhoodan- 
pura was eight years old Because of the dispersed nature of the villages 
m this area, necessitated by the regional topography, the usual tendency 
is for people to form identifiable territorial units for residential purposes 
which usually coincide with clan clusters But Bhoodanpura has drawn 


its population from eight different villages between four and twelve miles 
away from the present site of the village. While five of these villages sup- 
plied only one household each, the remaining 25 households came from 
three villages with a distribution of 10, 8, and 7 households each. Bhoodan- 
pura has four mohailas or residential clusters which contain persons ir- 
respective of their villages of descent, thereby negating the importance 
of -old ties for neighbourhood formation. The absence of age-old tics 
also rules out clearly established friendship or enmity relations sustained 
for generations. The 30 households belong to S different clans and no 
single clan has decisive numerical superiority. 

• These facts arc reported in order to highlight the nature of individual 
group relations in Bhoodanpura. Individuals arc certainly attached to 
their lineages and clans and to the villages they hailed from. But their 
kinship tics and timc-oici friendships or enmities do not have much sig- 
nificance in the political action context of Bhoodanpura for the simple 
reason that the entire kin-group or village did not move together to the 
new abode. We particularly emphasise the point because our observation 
in this connection is contrary' to common arguments. 28 As has been noted 
earlier (see Note 20), the usual argument is that tire loss of community 
sentiment creates atomisation, alienation, and anomie which result in the 
formation of a rootless mass which can be manipulated by outside agencies 
and leaders, and hence poses a constant threat to democracy. But our 
evidence suggests that limiting community values at a certain level also 
facilitates the processes involved in the working or democracy. True, 
the total severance of community ties will perpetuate confusion and re- 
sult in the creation of rootless individuals thirsting for a sense of belong- 
ing. It is equally true that the over-involvement of the individual with 
the group prevents independent judgement and rational decision, which 
is equally detrimental for democracy. The complex task is to locate the 
point at which relations between the individual and the group will be 
functional for democracy. 

That the Gram Sabha in Bhoodanpura had functioned for 52 months 
without any breakdown indicates that the existing conditions are favour- 
able. Though the inhabitants are drawn from different villages and are 
distributed among different clans, they arc not rootless. They arc not de- 
prived of a sense of belonging for they arc sufficiently small in number 
and homogeneous to permit intimate face-to-face relationships. The 
consequent lack of hierarchization too accelerates the intensity of their 
interaction. At the same time these community loyalties and values do 
not seem to inhibit their free action as independent individuals. They 
appear to be sufficiently attached to, but adequately independent of group 
loyalties. Such a situation favours their effective participation in political 



activities, keeping the common end in view In other words the nature of 
individual group relations in Bhoodanpura facilitated functionally 
specific and affectively neutral relations in the political context 

The community new of the working of Gram Sabha 
We have argued that the differentiation between power exercisers and 
power reservoirs caused political instability in Idanpura that the status 
quo was maintained m Sukpura because the old power personnel had 
been recruited into the new formal power wielding body, and that in 
Bhoodanpura favourable individual group relations brought about poll 
tical stability Let us see how far the community view of the working of 
the Gram Sabha conforms with these conclusions 
Table 20 summarises the opinions of household heads on the working 
of Gram Sabha in their respective villages The* political restlessness of 
Idanpura is clear in the opinion expressed 70 5 per cent of household 
heads expressed negative opinions ( not effective and ‘partial ) Only 
15 6 per cent expressed satisfaction with the functioning of Gram Sabha 

Table 20 

Opinion of household heads about the working of Gram Sabha 

Name of 

Effect i> e 


Tolerable Not 


No res 






















(15 6%) 


(53%) (17 6%) 

(9 8%) 


























In Sukpura only 14 per cent associated negative sanction with the work 
sag of Gram Sahho 39 per cent said that it was 'icierable', wJb.'rh mdjeafes 
acceptance of the status quo A clear difference is visible in Bhoodanpura 
An overwhelming majority, 77 per cent of household heads, had the view 
that the Gram Sabha is working impartially Even the phrases used by the 
people in different villages to denote their approval or disapproval are 
of importance A reputation for impartiality is not easily gained by a 
decision making body in a small community, particularly because of the 
suspected over involvement of the individual with the subgroup For 
reasons already given Bhoodanpura was able to start with a clean slate 


Thus Ihc opinions expressed by household heads on the working of the 
Grant Sabha reflect to a large extent the political situation obtaining in 
thc<c villages. 

Concluding Remarks 

The evidence we have presented in this Chapter reveals that a ’partici- 
pating democracy’ is a far cry in Gramdan villages. While Sukpura 
and Idanpura are multi-caste villages. Bhoodanpura is very small and 
occupied exclusively by one tribe. Even in such a village the proportion 
of persons who matter in the decision-making process is quite small. 

Sukpura ’s is the lowest participation and, as has been pointed out, 
in this village the power exercisers and the power reservoirs are the same 
and hence the core of power personnel remains a small group. In the 
ease of Bhoodanpura the absence of traditional power positions facilitated 
some power dispersion. But in Idanpura the traditional power holders 
arc politically influential, though several of them are not on the key power 
exercising body (the Gram Sabha executive committee). The number of 
adults in Idanpura is two and a half times that in Bhoodanpura and yet 
a larger percentage of the population participates in the decision-making 
process in the former. We have pointed out that there has been political 
instability in Idanpura since the establishment of Gram Sabha and the 
sharply divided power groups have always demonstrated their strength 
through the participation of the largest possible number of their members. 
Thus more and more people have had to be politically alert. In the light 
of this evidence we suggest that smallness and homogeneity in themselves 
arc no guarantee for the participation of a greater segment of the popula- 
tion in the decision-making process: politicisation, however, may well 
have this effect. 

It may be noted here that a large majority of non-participants are not 
aware of their political rights and they may not even think it appropriate 
for them to indulge in such activity which they see as belonging to cer- 
tain persons or groups with prestige and prerogatives (jagirdar , patcl, 
lineage heads, etc.). Even the nominal recognition accorded to them {as 
in the ease of the lower caste member of the executive committee) is a 
great boon and they feel gratified and contented. Therefore, unless the 
non-participants realise that it is equally their business to make decisions 
for the village and rebel against the existing power structure, there is 
little possibility of increased participation. May be political awareness 
may facilitate at masse participation. But social structure plays an impor- 
tant role in developing this awareness. 

Indian society is rigidly stratified on the basis of a number of criteria 
such as caste, age, sex, etc, and gave relatively limited autonomy for the 



individual for independent action This is reflected in the dominance 
of the male over the female, the old over the young, the upper caste over 
the lower castes Carstairs 29 refers to the willing subservience of the Hindu 
to his superiors and the expectation from his inferiors similar unquestion- 
ing subservience Ross 30 finds that as “mothers of sons" the Hindu wo- 
men assume authoritative roles which inhibit the growth of leadership 
qualities in the Hindu male and increases his dependency on her The 
outcome of this dependency is the tendency to delegate rights to others 
Often one comes across such remarks “It is the business of the Jagirdarj 
patel," “I cannot take a decision on it, it is my father’s/ husband’s job", 
etc The individual can be emancipated from such submissive inclinations 
only through indoctrinating the values such as equality, fraternity, free- 
dom, etc 31 The existing authoritarian structures such as caste, joint 
family, etc are antithetical to the development of individual autonomy 
and freedom 

Shils 32 asserts that the underdevelopment of individuality is in large 
measure a result of the extended family system But the loosening of the 
authority and pervasiveness of the extended family system may lead to 
anomie In order to counteract such a tendency, what is needed is a con- 
tinuous looseness of the wider kinship system and a continuous streng- 
thening of the nuclear family ties Shils 33 also mentions education as a 
pre requisite to stir up intellect and emotion As a result of such a stimu- 
lation the individuals are rendered restless about their village-and-kmship 
dominated life and become curious about a wider and more exhilarating 
life We have no evidence to support this argument as such However, 
it is very interesting to look at our data in this context 

Only 10 per cent of adults in Idanpura are literates and only 43 per cent 
of the households nuclear Twelve per cent of adults in Sukpura are li- 
terates and 42 per cent of households nuclear Both these villages are in- 
habited by caste Hindus Moreover nuclearity of families may not be a 
significant factor, due to the presence of elder kinsmen within the village 
Though residentially separate these units are interdependent and the autho- 
rity of the father or elder brother prevails in the context of village affairs 
In contradistinction to this 66 per cent of the adults are literate and all 
the households nuclear m Bhoodanpura Being migrants from different 
villages the authority of the elder kinsmen is absent Being a tribal village 
rigid caste stratification too is non-existent While in Bhoodanpura the 
Gram Sabha worked relatively more successfully as compared with other 
villages, power dispersion is far from achieved and participation in the 
decision-making process of the Gram Sabha less than that in Idanpura 
The high degree of factionalisation, we have noted was a compelling force 
for the participation of a greater proportion of population in the political 


processes in Idanpura. In the light of this sve suggest, while the degree 
of traditionalism may be less and the elements of modernity more in a 
system that may not automatically assure political awareness and partici- 
pation in the political process by the population. 

In fact that the segment of the population participating in the decision- 
making process or forming the power pool is a minority suggests that there 
is great power concentration and that power dispersion has not been 
achieved. To this extent the situation obtaining in these villages is far 
from the Sarvoc/aya ideal: the Janashakti (people's power) is hardly gene- 
rated and Rajniii (power politics) still prevails. It can be argued that in 
small communities the participation of every individual in the decision- 
making process is not necessary since the communication channels art- 
very informal and quickly effective. It may also be that, since each indi- 
vidual is not an independent entity but has to be taken as a group member, 
it is sufficient if the spokesman or representative of that group partici- 
pates in decision-making activities. This means that individuals should 
go by the commitments made by those who represent them, and the 
registering of individual opinions is not very significant. This assumes 
that the decision makers are capable of looking beyond their immediate 
and personal interests and this assumption is in accordance with the con- 
cept of communitarian society. 

But this same ideal communitarian society demands high altruistic 
orientation from the individual, for, he must be prepared to sacrifice his 
freedom for the benefit of the collectivity. Our evidence is that the indi- 
vidual is invariably indilTcrent to the interests of the wider community. 
The communitarian society emphasizes that the individual should be 
enveloped in the primary group values so that he may not get alienated 
and atomized. But if the individual is to act responsibly, he should be 
capable of visualizing things beyond his interests and for this lie should 
be largely independent of group bonds. On the other hand if the com- 
munitarian character of the society is to continue several of the primary- 
group tics (such as family, kinship, caste, regional and linguistic ties) 
are to be strongly maintained. This is the basic dilemma involved in the 
attempt of Sanodayites to effect a participating democracy in a communi- 
tarian society. The recognition of this dilemma persuades us to think 
along with R.E. Lane 54 that an ‘overdose’ of community values is admit- 
tedly antagonistic to the effective operation of a democratic political 
system. Community sentiments involve close and long-standing loyalties 
of locality and people but democracy based on such loyalties cannot be 
enduring. Community makes it hard for individuals to achieve status 
(political office in the present context) based on merit, and this almost 
undercuts the philosophy of a democratic system. Community is wedded 



to traditional ways and immobility and silences the critic but without 
widespread innovation, mobility, questioning and criticism democracy 
cannot flourish Community makes for solidarity relationships among men 
but for democracy to work men must be relatively free to combine and 
recombine in a flexible fashion, and for this the individual should be a 
free standing unit 

But Lane’s argument applies to politics at the national level, whereas 
the present data refers to small communities Moreover, Lane believes 
that the major flaw in the argument of the authors who see the weakening 
of community values as a threat to the future of democracy is that they 
view both national and local politics in the same perspective Lane be- 
lieves that *in a village setting, a city-state, it is possible to combine these 
qualities of community with a trend of democracy, the town meeting 
kind, or its extended version’ Only when a man enters politics at the na 
tional level must he * shed the qualities of the community man and 
assume -the lonely role of the independent, isolated individual’^ Our 
evidence on the other hand, suggests that even m small communities 
it is impossible to combine intense primary group sentiment with secular 
politics We are not suggesting that absolute individualisation and atomi 
sation of the individual are prerequisites for the operation of secular 
politics in a community, we are only indicating that the individual should 
be emancipated from hts exclusive involvement in the group if he is to act 
in the interest of the community It is in the conception of a commum 
tarian society which hopes to combine primary group relations with ra- 
tional participation in the polity that we discover the dilemma of Sana- 
daja politics 

Our contention that a charismatic movement will necessarily evolve 
an organizational base in the course of time is conclusively proved by 
the discussion in this chapter Operating at the grass-root level the most 
important organizational structures of the Bhoodan Gramdan movement 
are to be found in Gramdan villages We found that the introduction of 
Gram Sabhas did not result in mass participation and power dispersion 
and Rajniti (power politics) continues in Gramdan villages, unabated It 
can be either because of the inherent limitations of a charismatic movement 
to usher in changes through institutions or because of the deficiency of 
the local leaders who are devoid of a charismatic appeal In answering this 
problem, we turn to an analysis of the nature of local leadership 



‘This is an extended version of my paper "Myth and Reality in India’s Communi- 
tarian Villages,” Journal of Commonwealth Political Studies, Vo!. IV (2). Ju!v 1 9f>A. pp. 

-The Government of Rajasthan. The Rajasthan Grantdun Act 1960, Jaipur 1961, 
p. 6. 

■'Under the Panchavati Raj system which obtain in (Rajasthan at least) control villages 
a number of villages come to constitute a Vikas Panchayat (Development Council) 
which engages itself primarily with problems of development. Representatives (punches) 
are elected from the different villages and they, together with the sarpanch (president) 
who is directly elected from all the villages, constitute the executive committee of the 
Panchayat. A number of Vikas Panchayats combine to form a Xyaya Panchayat which 
attends to the administration of justice over its wider area. Each Vikas Panchayat 
nominates a member to the Nyava Panchayat. Thus under the Panchayati Raj system 
the elected members arc the decision-makers for the mass of voters and there is a separa- 
tion of power between the Vikas and Xyaya Panchayats. 

■•Quoted by Louis Fischer, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, New York, Harper & Bros., 
1960, p. 329. 

-'Quoted by Jag Pravesh Chandcr (cd.). Teachings by Mahatma Gandhi. Lahore, The 
Indian Printing Works, 1945, p. 34. 

•■Quoted by Louis Fisher, op. cit., p. 329. 

'D.G. Tcndulckar, The Mahatma, Bombay, Vol. IV (Published by the author) 1952, 
p. 15. 

‘Quoted by Suresh Rambhai, Progress of a Pilgrimage, Wardha, Akhi! Bharat Sana 
Seva Sangh, 1966, p. 7. 

''Quoted by Pyarclal Nayyar, Towards Xew Horizons, Ahmedabad, Navajivan, 1969, 
p, 131. 

■ ‘See Suresh Rambhai, op. cit., 1965, p. 5. 

1 1 Jayaprakash Narain, Towards a Xew Society, New Delhi, Congress for Cultural 
Freedom, 1958, pp. 26-27. 

»lbid„ p. 27. 

'-'Quoted by Suresh Rambhai, Vinoba and his Mission, Akhil Bharat Sarva Seva 
Sangh, Wardha, 1954, p. 209. 

'■'See Suresh Rambhai, op. cit., 1956, p. 7. 

• ‘Jayaprakash Narain, op. cit., 1958, p. 151. 

VJbid.. p. 164. 

•'Jayaprakash Narain, Socialism. Democracy and Sarva Java, Bimala Prasad (cd.), 
Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1964, p. 250. 

• ‘Jayaprakash Narain, op, cit., 1958, p. 38. 

• 9 For instance Georg Simmcl believed “Socialistic or nearly Socialistic Societies have 
been possible only in very smalt groups and always failed in large ones." The Sociology 
of Georg Simmcl. Illinois, The Free Press of Clcncoc, pp. 87-8S. Simmers concept of 
socialistic society is dose to the Sarrodaya concept of participating democracy. Joseph 
A. Schumpeter while negatively answering the possibility of the rule by the ‘people' 
writes; "In small and primitive communities with a simple sodal structure in which 
there is not much to disagree on, it is conceivable that all the individuals who form the 
people ns defined by the constitution actually participate in all the duties of legislation 
and administration.” Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. London. George Allen 



and Unwin Ltd , 1943, pp 245-46 In identifying the roads to Samty ( Erich Fromm makes 
a vigorous plea for “relatively small groups corresponding perhaps to the old Town 
Meeting and comprising not more than let us say five hundred people In such small 
groups the issue at stake can be discussed thoroughly, each member can express his 
ideas, can listen to and discuss reasonably other arguments ” The Sane Society, London, 
Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd , 1956, p 341 
2 °Ench Fromm holds that the individuals’ alienation from an uncreative work life, 
leads to his total alienation from society which is dangerous for democracy See Erich 
Fromm, op cit William Komhauser concerns himself with the loss of community 
and weakening of pluralistic groups serving as strong links between the individual and 
his larger society To him this loss results in the emergence of a mass society where 
atomistic relationships dominate, mampulability of the individual increase and conse- 
quently the future of democracy becomes dim The Politics of Mass Society, New York, 
The Free Press of Glenco, 1959 Sebastam De Grazia conceives political anomie as the 
resultant of the loss of faith in the rulers and their code of behaviour Thus when the 
masses challenge the common belief systems and authority and the rulers lose their 
close identity with the people there ensues a sense of insecurity and abandonment which 
might help synthetic ideologies and false political prophets The Political Community 
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1948 
2 ‘ Viewed from another angle too the smallness of the community poses problems in 
participation by the individual Thus as Verba has pointed out the visibility of the 
decisional process, the absence of formal mechanisms of decision making and assumed 
homogeneity of opinion may lead to a degeneration of this system amounting to into- 
lerance of the weaker sections See Sidney Verba, Small groups and political behaviour 
Princeston Princcston University Press, 1961 
“For an analysis of non western political processes, sec Luctan W Pye ’ The Non- 
Western Political Processes in Harry Eckstein and David E Apter, Comparali \e 
Politics A Reader London, The Free Press of Glenco, 1963, pp 657-665 
“This hypothesis is examined m some detail by the author in the context of the unrest 
that contemporary Indian Society faces See T K Oommen, “The Over integrated So 
ciety. Quest No 42, Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom, Calcutta, 1964 (July 
Sept ), pp 55-61 

“Morris Jones, "India’s Political Idioms”, in Politics and Society m India fed ) C H 
Philips, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd , 1963, p 44 
“Nayyar, op Cit , 1959, p 132 
“See Suresh Rambhai, op cit 1956, p 7 

27 Hallam Tennyson, Saint on March London, Victor Gollancz, 1955, p 81 
“Clarence King emphasizes the importance of a ‘natural ural community and 
endeavours to show how Bang-pakong a newly established village in Thailand, had 
hardly achieved a sense of close unity and common interests See Clarence King, 
Working with people in small communities New York, Harper and Bros , 1959, pp 
111-12 It is to be conceded that the time element is important in developing a sense 
of belonging in a new colony But we do not endorse the view of King that it is difficult 
to develop a common interest in a new village In fact many of the ties in traditional 
or old villages are dysfunctional for common interests, when we take the villagers as a 
whole as the frame of reference 

2S C Moms Carstairs, The Twice Born London, The Hogarth Press, 1957, p 160 
3 °Aileen D Ross, The Hindu Family m its Urban Setting Bombay, Oxford Univer 
sity Press 1961, pp 102 3 

“Lucian W Pye, Politics Personality and Nation Budding, Burma s search for identity 



New if.v.Tin and London. Yule UnKer.ii> 1'rfcw, 1962. p. 52. 

•' : l:d’.vard Shih. “The Concentration and Dispersion of CharKtnn: Their Iknnnp 
on Economic Policy in Underdeveloped countries", M Wd Politic «, Vo!. XI. No. I. 
I95S, pp, 15-17. 

' *//>/</.. p. 18. 

■'‘Robert I:. Lane, Politico! Ideology. New York. The Free Press of Glencoe. 1962. 
p. 227. 



77/c* Power Pool in Idem intro 

1. Ram Narain, Rajput, eldest son of the erstwhile jagirdar, lineage head, 
earlier treasurer of the Sahakari Samiti. former ward pouch repre- 
senting Idanpura. 

2. Raghunathdan. Rajput, third son of the erstwhile jagirdar (brother 
of Ram Narain). President of the Gram Sahha, some time manager 
of the Gramodyog Vikri Bliandar. 

3. Ganpat. Rajput, lineage head (second lineage of Rajputs), police 

-4. Badri Prasad. Brahmin, pujari of the village temple, treasurer of the 
Sahakari Samiti. 

5. Brahmanand, Brahmin, brother of the pujari, some time manager 
of the Gramodyog Vikri Bliandar. 

6. Nathu. Gogad Ahir, lineage head, revenue paid, president of the 
Sahakari Samiti. 

7. Ramchander. Gogad Ahir. member of the executive committee of 
the Gram Sahha. 

8. Bhoma, Gogad Ahir. President of the Gramodyog Vikri Bliandar 

9. Shuja, Kudawat Ahir, lineage head, non-revenue paid, an earlier 
ward pauch representing Idanpura. 

10. Mahadeva, Kudawat Ahir. lineage head, member of the executive 
committee of Gram Sahha, member of the cxecuthe committee of 
the Gramodyog Vikri Bhandar, 

11. Ghisha Ram. Kudawat Ahir. member of the executive committee 
of the Gram Sahha. 

12. Raghunath, Kudawat Ahir, member of the executive committee of 
the Gram Sahha, 



13 Girdari, Kudawat Ahir, member of the executive committee of the 
Sahakan Sanuti 

14 Kana, Kudawat Ahir, member of the executive committee of Saha- 
kari Samitt 

15 Bhuvana, Ganwai Ahir, member of the executive committee of Gram 
Sabha, member of the executive committee of Sahakan Samiti, mem- 
ber of the executive committee of Gramodyog Vikn Bhandar 

16 Lalu, Jat, member of the executive committee of Gram Sabha 

17 Ramnath, Jat, member of the executive committee of Sahakan Sanuti 

18 Ram Dev, Nai, Vice-President of Gram Sabha, erstwhile secretary of 
Sahakan Samiti, Vice-President of the Gramodyog Vikn Bhandar 
committee, member of the executive committee of Gram Se\a Mandat 
Shanti Satnxk 

19 Chottu, Khati, lineage head, member of the executive committee of 
Gram Sabha 

20 Gobinda, Khati, lineage head 

21 Bodu, Bhalai, chief of his caste, lower caste member of the executive 
committee of Gram Sabha 

22 Har Sahai, Brahmin, Gram Sahayak (outsider), secretary of the exe- 
cutive committee of Gram Sabha, secretary of Sahakan Samiti 
Accountant of Gramodyog Vikn Bhandar, member of the executive 
committee of Gram Se\a Mandat Shanti Saimk 


The Power Pool of Sukpura 

1 Haridas, Khilen Jat, erstwhile ward panch and the present president 
of Gram Sabha (Note that Handas’s is the only household in his 

2 Mukunda, Khileri Jat, lineage head, revenue patel, member of the 
executive committee of Gram Sabha 

3 Ram Suk, Khileri Jat, lineage head, revenue patel, member of the 
executive committee of Gram Sabha 

4 Narayan, Khilen Jat, revenue patel, member of the executive commit- 
tee of Gram Sabha, member of the executive committee of Sahkan 

5 Aijun, Khileri Jat, secretary of Sahakan Samiti, secretary of Sano- 
daya Mandat executive committee 

6 Budda, Khileri Jat, lineage head, member of the executive committee 
of Sahakri Sanuti 

7 Jessa, Khilen Jat, member of the executive committee of Sahakan 
Samiti, joint secretary of Sanodaya Mandat executive committee 



K Biya, Khilcri Jnt. member of the executive committee of Sahakari 

9. Pusha, Khileri Jat. member of the executive committee of Sahakari 
Samiti, Shanti Sainik. 

10. Tulja. Khilcri Jat, Shanti Sainik. 

11. Ganesh, Khilcri Jat. Shanti Sainik. 

12. Chalura. Bhamboo Jat, revenue paid, member of the executive 
committee of Gram Sahha. 

13. Boga. Bhamboo Jat, President of Sahakari Samiti, cashier of Sana- 
claya Man dal executive committee. 

14. Sardara, Bhamboo Jat, lineage head. 

15. Mana. Lol Jat. vice-president of the Sarvodava Mandal executive 

16. Balu, Shiyak Jat, assistant secretary of Sarvodava Mandal executive 

17. Ganga. Shiver Jat. Shanti Sainik. 

IS. Nahar Singh. Rajput, lineage head, patcl (non-revenue), member 
of the executive committee of Gram Sahha, anti-prohibition secre- 
tary of the Sarvodaya Mandal executive committee. 

19. Kishan Singh, Rajput, treasurer of Sahakari Samiti, president of 
the Sarvodava Mandal. 

20. Jetta, Naik. paid (non-revenue) of Naiks. member of the executive 
committee of Gram Sahha. 

21. Gram Sahayak, Kayasth, secretary of Gram Sahha, manager of Sah- 
kari Samiti. adviser of Sarvodava Mandal, Shanti Sainik. 


The Power Pool in Bhoodanpura 

1. Vesya, Damorc, president of Gram Sahha, mcmbcr-in-charge of the 
guests (to the village) on the Gram Sttd/tar Committee, member of 
the executive committee of Sahakari Bliandar, Lok Sevak. 

2. Antra, Damorc, mcmber-in-chargc of prayer on the Gram Sudhar 
Committee, member of the executive committee of Sahakari Bhandar, 
Lok Sevak. 

3. Chamna, Nenama, secretary' of Grant Sahha, member-in-charge of 
education of Gram Sudhar Committee, Lok Sevak. 

4. Jhoria. Nenama. member of the executive committee of Gram Sahha, 
member of the executive committee of Sahakari Bhandar, Lok Sevak. 

5. Mandu, Nenama. member of the executive committee of Gram Sahha, 
member-in-charge of building construction of Gram Sudhar Com- 
mittee, Lok Sevak. 



6 Velia, Nenama, member of the executive committee of Gram Sabha 
member of the executive committee of Sahakart Bhandar, Lok Se\ak 

7 Nathi, Nenama, woman member of the executive committee of Gram 
Sabha, member in-charge of hygiene of households in Gram Sudhar 

8 Kama, Bad, member of the executive committee of Gram Sabha 
member-i n*charge of health of the Gram Sudhar Committee 

9 Deva, Bad, Patel, member-m-charge of Shramdan of Gram Sudhar 
Committee, President of Sahakart Bhandar 

10 Harji, Bamania, member-in-charge of meetings of Gram Sudhar 
Committee, Lok Se\ak 

11 Hema, Ratore, member of the executive committee of Gram Sabha 
member of the executive committee of Sahakart Bhandar, Lok Setak 

12 Atma, Ratore, Gram Sahayak (outsider) co-ordinator of Gram Sabha 
and Gram Sudhar Committee, manager of Sahakart Bhandar, Lok 


The Nature of Local Leadership 

Vinoba, the initiator of the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement is a charismatic. 
However, in view of the mechanism of propaganda and communication 
( padayatra ) that the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement employs and consider- 
ing the vast size of the country and the consequent immensity of the 
problem to reach the people through the mechanism employed, it is 
inconceivable that a single person can successfully establish mass contact. 
Inevitably, leadership with similar moorings should be generated at the 
lower levels; state, district, village, etc. This situation calls for the local 
leadership taking up the “mission” in the different regions in the country. 
So far as the local leaders are viewed as representatives of the national 
charismatic leader and propagators of his ideas there is a likelihood of 
these men donning the mantle of charisma, as we have pointed out in 
Chapter J. It is also possible that the people will attribute charismatic 
qualities to these local leaders, if they ‘imitate’ the style of life of the na- 
tional leadership. The effectiveness of local lenders may to a large extent 
depend upon the charismatic appeal they can evoke in the people. The 
present Chapter attempts to examine the nature of Sarvodaya leadership 
which exists at the local level and assess the contribution it is likely to 
make to bring about change. 

It is important to keep in mind that pure charismatic leadership exists 
only in the process of origination. Once it starts dealing with the petty 
vexations of day-to-day mundane life the tendency towards routiniza- 
tion will be strongly present either in the bureaucratic or in the traditional 
direction. The Sarvodaya leadership is a mixture of all these. Indeed it is 
true that neither Gandhi nor Vinoba occupied any organisational positions 
as such. As we have pointed out in Chapter II. on attaining Independence 
Gandhi wanted to dissoh'e the Congress, the political organisation which 
fought the British for freedom, and desired that the congressmen should 
constitute a corps of volunteers (Lok Sevaks). Vinoba detests bureaucracy 
and ceaselessly argues for Kartrittya Vibhajan or distribution of work 
among individuals without creating an administrative bureaucracy. 
Notwithstanding all these the Bhoodan-Gramdan movement has organiza- 
tions at various levels and the positions are filled by Saruvdaya workers. 



To this extent routimzation of charisma in the bureaucratic direction is 
in evidence 

There is also ample evidence to suggest that the tendency towards 
routimzation of charisma m the traditional direction is also strong Gandhi 
had continuously and systematically utilized and declared his faith in the 
traditional institutions In fact the ‘evils’ in contemporary Hindu society, 
according to Gandhi, can be traced back to the deviation from Hindu 
Dharma and tradition For instance, he had vehemently argued for the 
reconstruction of Indian society based on the Varna scheme but openly 
decried untouchability as the greatest blot on Hinduism and argued that 
there was no evidence to suggest that Hindu scripture had sanctioned 
this He found sanction for his doctrine of trusteeship in Hindu scripture 
and he believed that real socialism was handed down to Indians by their 

Vinoba endorses Gandhian views in their entirety and reminds people 
that he had come to the forefront only because of the absence of his teacher 
What Vinoba strives to achie\e through Gramdan is to establish Gram 
Raj, as conceived by Gandhi Like Gandhi, he traces the origin of his 
ideas continually to the traditional Hindu sources, thereby suggesting 
that all that he hopes to do is to re-establish the traditional order without 
the attendant man made evils He likens his movement to the traditional 
Indian J agna He writes, “In olden days, when disturbed conditions pre- 
vailed in the country, our ancestors used to perform Yagna I also wanted 
to perform a Yagna, so I have started experimenting this Bhoodan 
Just as we give our share to the Yagnas, so also we should donate lands 
to the landless poor ” 1 

The point we want to suggest is that the fountain of charisma in the 
case of the leadership of Bhoodan Gramdan movement is not “pure”. 
Though predominantly charismatic in orientation it is a mixture of all 
elements of leadership put together With this understanding of the nature 
of top level leadership of the movement let us examine the local leader- 
ship situation 

Tke focal J&zfcrsM’i? 

The four Gramdan villages studied are from the districts of Jaipur, 
Nagaur, Dungarpur and Banswara We have limited our analysis to the 
district level, for, there hardly exist any state-wide (all Rajasthan) leader- 
ship in this context In undertaking to study the district level leadership we 
confine ourselves to those ‘Key figures’ who were instrumental in bringing 
the villages studied under the fold of Gramdan These persons were located 
by asking all the interviewees (heads of the households) to mention the 
person who was instrumental in bringing their village under Gramdan 


Oncc a village is declared as a Gramdan village a person is appointed to 
work as Gram Sahayak (village helper), who lives in the village. The role 
of Gram Sahayak is to introduce the programmes of the movement and 
to sustain the change process. Obviously the position of persons who work 
as Gram Sahayaks is strategic in the success of the movement. 

Ram Sahai was instrumental in bringing Idanpura under the fold of 
Gramdan. He was born in 1934 in a Brahmin family, in village Dtulu. 
about 20 miles from Idanpura. Coming from a poor family he had consi- 
derable difficulties in getting himself educated. He passed the Hindi 
examination, considered equivalent to B.A., in 1953. His search for em- 
ployment took him to South India for an initial training in cottage indus- 
tries. Ram Sahai was favourably inclined to Gandhian ideas and an 
important external manifestation of the same was his being a habitual 
wearer of Kfiadi (hand-spun cloth), an idea ingrained in Gandhi’s .wadeshi 
movement or use of indigenous products. Inspired by the call given by 
Vinoba Bhavc, Ram Sahai discontinued his training to join as a Bhoodan 
worker in 1953. He had no political association, even as an ordinary mem- 
ber of a political party. 

During the last 12 years he undertook several Padyatras in Rajasthan 
and outside to collect and distribute land. He was the secretary of the Rajas- 
than Bhoodan Yajna Board in its formative years. Later lie was invested 
with the responsibility of organising Gramdan work in Jaipur district. 
In 1960 lie went to Israel for five months to study collective living and 
agriculture prevalent in the Kibbutz. 

Ram Sahni's usual headquarters is at Jaipur and Idanpura is about 22 
miles away. He visits the village at least once in a fortnight and more 
often if situations call for. Nobody in Idanpura attributes ulterior motives 
to Ram Sahai. As a worker, inspired by the Sarrodaya ideology. Sahai 
is wedded to the creation of a non-violent social order. 

Badri Prasad was the chief figure instrumental in bringing Sukpura 
under Gramdan. A Brahmin by birth. Badri Prasad hails from Makrana. 
a small town in Nagaur district in Rajasthan. Aged 47. Badri Prasad 
is a graduate both in Arts and Law (B.A., LL. B.). Badri Prasad worked 
as a teacher for about seven years and then practised law for six years. 
He was particularly interested in the criminal and revenue cases of 

Worked for the Congress since 1945. Badri Prasad applied for a party 
ticket in the First General Election to contest for the Rajasthan Assembly. 
However, he could not contest the election as his application was rejected 
and according to him not on ‘genuine’ grounds. Impressed by the ideal 
set by Bhoodan-Granuhm movement Badri Prasad stopped practising law 
in 1954 and relinquished his party membership to join as a full-time volun- 


teer to work for Sanodata Samaj He undertook a number of padyatras 
particularly in Nagaur district, in the course of which about twenty thou 
sand acres of land was received and redistributed In 1960 he served as the 
Secretary and later as the chairman of the Rajasthan Samagra Sex a Sangh 
(the state level organisation to organise Sanodaya activities) For the 
last several years Badri Prasad was the principal of the Rajasthan Gram 
Sx\araj\a Vidyalaya and the organizer of Rajasthan State Peace Brigade 
( Shanu Sena ) He was also the chairman of the Nagaur District Rural 
Industrialization Project While holding a number of positions at the state 
level Badri Prasad’s chief concern was his native district, viz, Nagaur 
Badri Prasad’s entry into the field of ‘constructs e work’ seems to be 
largely due to his failure to enter into politics 

Bhogilal Pandye, known as * Bagad Gandhi”, was the influential person 
in bringing Raghupura under Gramdan Pandye was bom m a poor 
Brahmin famil> in a village in Dungarpur district in 1904 After his pri- 
mary school education he came to the district headquarters, Dungarpur, 
to continue his education which he financed himself through odd jobs 
In 1923 he went to Ajmer to pursue his study in the high school In 1923 
he became a school teacher 

Pandye took interest in ‘constructive work’ in his early jears 
In 1925 he had started a hostel for poor students at Dungarpur In 1933 
he founded the Harijan Sexak Sanuti (an organization for the uplift of 
untouchables) and became its founder Secretary In 1935 he started work- 
ing for the uplift of Adixasis (tnbals) In 1937 the Rajasthan Sex a Sangh 
(an organization for the welfare of the tribal people m the distnets of 
Dungarpur and Banswara) was established with Pandje as its founder 
President Pandye faced considerable difficulties from the British 
Government in the uplift measures he had attempted for the untouchables 
and tnbals 

Pandye was actively associated with the freedom movement He was 
arrested twice and put in jail In 1948 he became minister in the Udaipur 
ministry, when separate ministries were formed for different regions of 
Rajasthan In 1952 he contested the election with the Congress ticket 
defeated the hiaharaja of Dungarpur and became mmsster m the Jjzst AH 
Rajasthan Ministry In 1957 he was elected for a second time to the State 
Legislative Assembly In 1962 he was defeated by the Maharaja of Dungar- 

Pandye continues to be the president of the Rajasthan Sex a Sangh 
(which he founded) under which the Sanodaya work m Dungarpur dis- 
trict was carried out He was associated with a number of all-India orgam 
sations, such as Akhd Bharat Adim Jati Sangh, Khadi Gramody og Board, 
Gandhi Nidhi, etc He was also incharge of the Gram Ekai programme 


of Khadi and Village Industries Commission, in the tribal areas of Rajas- 
than. Pandve admitted that all was not well with constructive programmes 
in his district but as he puts it. "The problem is not of Pandye but of the 
workers at the lower level." The relevant details about Pandve shows 
that he was both a politician and a constructive worker. 

Jagannath was born at Rat lam (Madhya Pradesh) and subsequently 
came to Parathapur in Banswara district. He was responsible for estab- 
lishing Bhoodanpura. A coppersmith by caste he earned his livelihood 
by continuing his traditional occupation side by side with constructive 
work. In 1931 he had started a public library in Parathapur. He ua* 
the founder secretary of the Jiarijait Sevak Samiti, Parathapur. started 
in 1933. In 1946 Jagannath founded the Banswara Zilla 5cm Sangh for 
the uplift of tribals. of which he was the president till 1961. 

As a person Jagannath pursued an extremely disciplined life and was 
above al! customary considerations. In 1940 he married an untouchable 
widow from the Vidhava Ashram at Indore. He got up daily at 4 a.m. 
and spent one hour in prayer. He ate only once a day and worked about 
3 hours every day to finish spinning a set amount of yarn. He was a habi- 
tual weaver of Khadi and led a most simple life. Notwithstanding his 
qualities Jagannath was brushed aside by local politicians as ineffective 
and inefficient. 

Gram sahayaks 

Aged 28, Har Sahai was a Brahmin hailing from a village in Jaipur 
district. Educated upto matriculation as he was, Sahai worked as 
the Panchayaf Secretary of his village. He was employed in the railways 
as a line fitter subsequently. Sahai had started working with the Rajas- 
than Khadi Sangh in 1956 at the instance of an ‘influential' Gandhian 
worker from Rajasthan who was the then principal of a training centre 
near Jaipur. Having worked there for 2 years Sahai was sent to Bombay 
for the Gram Sahayak's training in 195S. In 1959 he was appointed 
as the Gram Sahayak of Idanpura. 

Har Sahai was associated with all the developmental and constructive 
programmes of Idanpura. He was also a Sharin’ Sain'd; . He wears Khadi 
and operates charka at least for an hour every day. According to Sahai. 
Gramdan programme can successfully operate if only general economic 
development comes about and caste system abolished. Notwithstanding 
the interest that Sahai shows in Idanpura it may be noted that it 
was the search for employment which resulted in his becoming a Gram 

Virendra Prasad, aged 30. came from Matnpuri district of U.P. and was 
the Gram Sahayak of Sukpura. A Kayaxlh by birth, he was educated upto 



Intermediate and had completed the teacher’s training course Starting 
his career as a teacher m 1953, he continued it upto 1957 Prasad had 
read Vinoba ka Vichar (Vinoba's thought) which influenced him con- 
siderably Prasad was an unusual young man He wanted to be “one 
with God and enjoy the blessings of spirituality But hunger and lust were 
the main obstacles ” In 1954 he married as advised by several of the spin 
tual personalities whom he had consulted 

In 1956 Prasad happened to meet the manager of Gandhi Ashram 
of his district and subsequently joined the Ashram Soon he was deputed 
for a training in khadt and cottage industries In the meantime he was 
attracted by the Akhanda Bhoodan Padyatra and he joined the same 
and remained a Padayatri for four months In 1958-59 he worked as a 
Sanodaya worker without any regular payment in Mainpuri district, 
U P In 1959-60 he worked as the organiser of Sanodaya Patra propaga 
tion la Saharanpur district of U P In 1960 Prasad became a Shantt 
Satnik He was called to Chambal Ghati where Vinoba had launched a 
programme of reforming the dacoits through non violent measures In 
1961 he came to Rajasthan to start the work of Nat Tahm Vidyalaya 
(Basic School) and worked for 8 months Due to differences of opinion 
with his senior colleagues he left the school to take up the job of Gram 

In February 1962 he took over as the Gram Sahayak of Sukpura with 
the grim determination to re construct the Gramdan village in the ‘right 
direction’ However, it did not take much time for him to be frustrated 
He became thoroughly dissatisfied with the prevalent conditions m Suk- 
pura and confessed that he could not do much and proposes to leave the 

Prasad belongs to a middle class family and his parents wanted 
him to be a lawyer He had strained his relations with them on this 
issue While Prasad acknowledged Kutumba Dharma (family duty) he 
subordinated the same to Lok Se\a (Service to the people) As a person 
Prasad was extremely disciplined He got up every day at 5 am and 
spent some time m meditation and prayer He undertook some bread 
Aahsuv’ ngfg^sely He war a Aff&nto si weaver ef iZihnrt- He fcvg&i caste 
system vigorously and even interdined with untouchables which made 
him unacceptable to the upper castes in Sukpura Although ideologically 
zealous and socially reformist, Prasad was an unacceptable person 
to the vested interest forces in Sukpura 

Mamkalal worked as Gram Sahay ak in Raghupura for 12 years Brahmin 
by birth Mamkalal came from Banswara district and was educated upto 
the middle school A firm believer in Gandhian ideology the young Mamka 
lal rebelled against the practice of untouchabihty in his early twenties 


His close interaction with the untouchables (including commensality) 
Jed to liis ostracism by his family, caste and village. Thus in 193? at the 
age of 20 Manikalal left his village. 

From 1933 onwards lie was closely associated with the IJnrijan Sc\ak 
Samili founded by Bhogiial Pandvc. In 1938 he started working with 
the tribals under the auspices of Rajasthan Seva Sangh. Dungarpur. In 
1945 he had to leave Dungarpur due to the anti-tribal policy pursued by 
the Dungarpur State authorities. He worked with the I'atmmi Seva 
Sangh, Udaipur, from 1945 to 1950. In 1951 he became a Sanodaya 

Manikalal was one of the pioneers of Gramdan movement in Dungar- 
pur district and brought ten villages under the fold of Gramdan as early 
as 1953. He lived in Raghupura for 25 years, first as a teacher of the village 
school and later as a Gram Sahavak. 

At present Manikalal teaches in a school meant for Harijan children, 
run by the Rajasthan Seva Sangh at Dungarpur with a monthly emolu- 
ment of Rs. 60. He wanted to leave Dungarpur for a village to do cons- 
tructive work. But he was not preferred due to “personal reasons'" as he 
saw it. He said “I have been kept in jail by paying Rs. 60. I would like 
to work as a Gram Sahayak but that means Pandyc cannot do things 
as he liked and hence he will not appoint me." 

Manikalal was very much frustrated at the conduct of the Rajasthan 
Seva Sangh authorities. Since the activities of the Sangh was politically 
charged and motivated it was very difficult, he felt, to make people under- 
stand the difference between Rajniti (politics) and Lok Seva (constructive 
work). Manikalafs case illustrates the conflict between those who are 
committed to the Sarvodaya ideology and those who look upon it as a 
convenient garb to perpetuate their personal interests. 

Amba Ram an educated Bhil (a tribe) joined the Para t ha pur Harijan 
Sevak Samili in 1945 as a teacher and warden of the tribal students' 
hostel. Prior to that he was in government service for about four years. 
In 1948 lie became Assistant Secretary of the Banswara Zilla Sevak Sangh. 
In 1954 he was appointed by the Rajasthan Samagra Seva Sangh to look 
after the agricultural improvement programme in Banswara district. In 
1955 when Bhoodanpura was established as a new colony he became the 
Gram Sahayak and the Secretary of the Bhoodanpura Gram Nirman 

Amba Ram holds a number of positions simultaneously. From 1962 
onwards he was the organizer of Gramdan movement in Banswara district. 
In 1955 he was appointed as the member of the Gram Nirman Committee 
of the Rajasthan Samagra Seva Sangh. He was also the Secretary of Bans- 
wara District Sarvodaya Mandat. Amba Ram was a member of Congress 



Party from 1941 to 1952 and was actively associated with several of its 

Both Jagannath and Amba Ram (the district and village leaders from 
Banswara) decried the tendency to mix politics with constructive work 
particularly by the politicians In 1962 Harideo, a Brahmin was appointed 
the president of the Banswara ZtUa Se\a Sangh, an organisation devoted 
to constructive work Harideo was the president of Rajasthan Pradesh 
Congress Committee when he was appointed Similarly Prabha Shanker, 
(another Brahmin) was appointed the Secretary of the district Se\a Sangh 
Prabha Shanker had no record of constructive work He was working 
with Life Insurance Corporation of India as a field officer and was the 
Pradhan of Panchayat Samiti and an influential district congress worker 
Neither Harideo nor Prabha Shanker had any association with the Se\a 
Sangh earlier They were brought in because of their influence with the 
‘high circles’ which facilitates easy securing of finance and other facilities 
Such situations result in the open conflict between constructive workers 
and local politicians 

Our acquaintance with the Sanodaya personnel at the district and 
village level permits a few general observations With the exception 
of Sanodaya workers from Banswara district all are upper caste Hindus 
particularly Brahmins While some of these local leaders are inspired by 
the movement and its ideology, others are either frustrated politicians or 
mere career seekers Ideological purists like Ram Sahai, Manikalal, 
Jagannath, Virendra Prasad, politicians-turned constructive workers 
hke Badri Prasad and Amba Ram, politicians cum constructive workers 
such as Bhogilal Pandye, career seekers hke Har Sahai, all occupy organisa- 
tional positions The conflict between those who are ideologically com 
nutted and the power-orientated (as m Dungarpur district), the attempt 
to dislodge the constructive workers by politicians (as in the case of Bans 
wara district) the frustrations of purists (as in the case of Manikalal and 
Virendra Prasad), the material benefit orientation of the ideologically 
uncommitted (for instance, Har Sahai) — all create internal problems m 
the movement hampering its smooth working Since the movement 
did not develop as yet its own sources for finance, those who can secure 
finance from governmental and other agencies are important To the 
extent a person is influential in the government circles and styles himself 
a constructive worker his importance over the ideologically committed 
but the unmfluential, increases Obviously this brings forth dash of in 
terests and internal schisms in the movement In the absence of any 
definite requirements for recruitment to leadership positions a large num 
ber of “frustrated ’ and “disgruntled” elements come forward to cham 
pion the cause of the movement The ideological commitment of the 



local leaders is not deep-rooted and thi*. situation offers the powbilit) 
of vested interest forces infiltrating into the movement, thereby ns inn 
it as a device for pattern maintenance. A large number of erstwhile free- 
dom fighters who had enjoyed social and normative gratifications but 
had fallen from their prestigious positions use the movement to “rehabi- 
litate’' themselves. AH these reduce the change potential of the move- 
ment . 2 

In spite of ail these, it may be noted here that the leaders both at the 
district and village level imitate the style of life prescribed by the top 
leadership. All of them wear Kharfi, are teetotallers, vegetarians, spin 
for some time ever)' day, openly decry practices life untouchabtlity. 
undertake Padavatras. AH of them style themselves as small Gandhis and 
little Vinobas, and the local people seem to recognize them as such. For 
instance, Bhogilal Pandaye was known as Bagad Gandhi as noted earlier. 
(Bagad is the local name for the combined region comprised of Dtingar- 
pur and Banswara districts). The local leaders' style of life and modus 
operandi render them ‘little charismatics*. and this adds to their mass 
appeal. The social distance, deference, etc. the people show in their inter- 
action with these leaders are empirically observable indices of charismatic 
appeal they possess. Tims there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the 
charisma of the top leadership infiltrates downwards. Notwithstanding 
the respect shown to these local charismatics. people valued most those 
who could deliver goods in terms of material benefits also. In fact, the 
charismatic appeal of local Sarvodava workers facilitated their stabiliza- 
tion in the organizational positions they occupied, even when they in- 
dulged in activities antithetical to the interests of the movement. 

Having noted that the nature of leadership at the local level let us exa- 
mine whether the process of dispersion of charisma has affected the leader- 
ship in Grtundan villages. 

Nature of leadership in Granuian villages 

Weber made it amply clear that is the “willingness to obey” on the 
part of the collectivity which “lent prestige" to the persons exercising 
power. Therefore, in our attempt to understand the source of authority, 
the question: What makes the collectivity willing to obey their leader, that 
is those who influence their behaviour, assumes considerable significance. 
So far as “willingness to obey' on the part of the collectivity is crucial, 
it is necessary to understand the community-image of ideal leadership, 
the leadership which the people arc willing to obey. It is quite possible 
that the leadership that exists in a community at a particular point of 
time may not be the type that the collectivity would want but even in 
such an instance, they are coerced to obey or at least they cannot afford 



to challenge the prevalent leadership even if coercion is not imposed 
directly In other words, it is important to note that there exists the possi- 
bility of gap between the community— image of ideal leadership and the 
nature ofleadership that exists and exercises influence m the community 
The distinction between the ideal and the actual is made by the members 
of all societies existed at all times It is not conceivable that ideal and actual 
structures coincide exactly and it is very likely that the community is 
aware of this ‘lack or fit’ Recently Levy has forcefully argued for the 
recognition of this fact “The distinction between ideal and actual struc- 
tures is one of the most vital and useful tools of analysis of any society, 
any time, any where In one form or other men have been aware of it 
ever since societies came into existence It is, however, so obvious and such 
a humble distinction that many social scientists either neglect it or over- 
look its importance "* The ideal may be defined as what the collectivity 
regards as right, good, proper, preferable, etc and an actual structure is 
one in terms of which men behave 
The gap between ideal and actual may be an important source of stress 
and strain in society which in turn may generate change However, mere 
awareness of the lack of coincidence between ideal and actual and the 
consequent discontent may not automatically result in change In order 
that changes may occur, not only that the collectivity should be upset 
about these inconsistencies but that they should channelize their efforts to 
narrow the gap On the other hand, the very fact that there exists a gap 
between ideal and actual offers possibilities of integration, for, the varia- 
tions ofTer chances of adjustments within the system In the final analysis, 
the discrepancy between ideal and actual is one of the irreducible facts 
of human social life These considerations highlight the need to under- 
stand the community image of ideal and actual leadership 
In order to ascertain the differences in the nature ofleadership between 
the experimental ( Gramdan ) and control villages, the interviewees were 
asked two questions (i) what qualities do you think arc essential for a 
leader m your village, and (n) what are the qualities that the leaders m 
your village possess? The responses to these questions unfold the image 
that the people have of ideal leadership and the qualities that the existing 
leadership possess and the gap between the two 
The interviewees were asked to specify three quahties/attnbutes in 
order of preference In order to assess the relative significance of each 
quality, attributed to the leadership a scoring system was adopted The 
first, second and third preferences were given three, two and one points 
respectively Thus a single interviewees’ total score adds up to 34-24- 
1 =6. The total number of scores is equal to the total number of respon- 
dents multiplied by six 



An examination of attributcs/quaUties mentioned by the respondents 
reveals that these qualities can be grouped into three conceptual catego- 
ries. These categories are called here ethical-attributes, achievement- 
attributes and ascriptivc-attributcs. The specific attributes included in 
the category called ethical are truthfulness, disposition to help others 
and impartiality. The indices enlisted under the ascriptive qualities arc 
membership in numerically, economically or ritually superior castes, 
membership in aristocratic families or leading lineages, ownership in 
land or other property, incumbency to traditional power positions, etc. 
The achievement attributes arc education, ability to settle disputes, 
capacity to converse, social service, influence with governmental and poli-* 
tica! officials, ability to bring benefits for the village, etc. 

The position in regard to the experimental and control villages is shown 
in Table 21. It is clear that the predominant image of a leader that obtains 
in the minds of men in these villages is that of a person with moral 
qualities. This means, political leadership in India, if it. is to be 
effective, that is, if it is to conform to the average Indian’s 
image, should have a very heavy ethical orientation. One is reminded 
here of the immeasurable respect commanded by Gandhi, Vinoba or 
Jayaprakash Narain. These leaders’ influence and power is rooted in 
their moral qualities. In fact, ‘saintly politics’ needs to be recognized as 
one of the important idioms of Indian politics. 5 

The image of political leader as a person imbued with moral qualities 
is rooted in Indian tradition. The preservation of Varnashrama Dharma 
was one of the premier duties of ancient Indian Government. The ideal 
king was one who accepted the interpretation of Dharma given by the 
pandits in his court and enforced it ruthlessly and impartially by means 
of coercion (danda). As Basham 6 observes, “Indian political thought was 
much concerned with moral obligations on the part of both king and sub- 
ject. each of which implicitly involved corresponding moral rights. It 
must be emphasized that these arc in both eases moral only.” There existed 
no constitutional machinery to enforce these role-expectations but their 
effectiveness depended on the consciousness of the king and his minis- 
ters and vassals. What is relevant Tor the moment is to note the fact 
that it is this expectation of moral obligations from political leaders 
which conditions the image of the leader as a person with moral qualities. 
That is to say, the moral obligations expected from political leaders is 
not a contemporary phenomenon; it is rooted in Indian tradition. 

Having understood that the community-image of political leadership 
in the villages studied is predominantly ethical in orientation, it is signifi- 
cant to understand the weightage accorded to the rational or achievement 
oriented attributes, by the community. Even under the traditional system 

Qualities of Leadership Ideal and actual 





some importance was always given to the achievement or abilities of the 
individuals. Instances arc not rare when an incompetent person is denied 
the position of the chief (Paid, Mttkhya or Cknwdkari) in the ullage even 
when he is the legitimate heir for the office. A young brother or a kinsman 
is preferred to in such situations. Personal abilities such as ability to settle 
disputes, capacity to converse or influence with officials are all found 
useful achievements even in the traditional context to secure leadership 
positions. Only attributes such as education, ability to bring benefits for 
the village (to be viewed in the context of C.D. programmes), innovation 
etc., arc recent or modern. 

In spite of the overall similarity that obtains in regard to the image 
of an ideal leader both in the experimental and control villages, it max be 
noted that the scores for ethical attributes are nearly ten per cent more 
in Gramdan villages. Again, the ascriptive attributes secured very few scores 
in control villages as compared with Gramdan villages. On the contrary, 
the score for achievement attributes is nearly 15 per cent more in control 
villages. This means the significance attached to ethical and traditional 
factors is more in Gramdan villages. The greater preference for leaders 
with ethical qualities in Gramdan villages is scarcely surprising for, as 
we have pointed out the leadership at the top level of the Bhoodan-Gramdan 
movement is predominantly charismatic (which prescribes ethical quali- 
ties for the leadership) and this orientation gels itself percolated down 
to the lower levels of leadership which in turn affects the image of leader- 
ship at tiie village level. But the higher scoring for ascriptive attributes 
in Gramdan villages indicates the inability of the Sarvodava ideology to 
shake off the shackles of traditional vestieges. The lesser scoring for achieve- 
ment attributes in Gramdan villages further strengthens this contention. 

With this understanding of the community-image of leadership, let 
us understand what the respondents think are the qualities possessed by 
the leaders in their village. The scores received by ethical and ascriptive 
factors have nearly interchanged their positions (see Table 21) both in 
the case of experimental and control eases. The relevance of ethical attri- 
butes in gelling into leadership positions is extremely insignificant in 
the ease of control villages, while 14 per cent of the scores go to this attri- 
bute in Gramdan villages. The role of achievement attributes is greater 
in control cases in facilitating the occupation of leadership positions. The 
ascriptive attribute is the most important quality found in the leaders 
both in the control and experimental cases, though in the former case 
it is more significant. The scoring pattern in regard to the qualities of 
leaders reveals the strong rooting of the Indian rural leadership in parti- 
cularistic ascription. Thus, while the ideal leader is one who should have 
ethical qualities the actual leader is rooted in tradition. 

1 43 


The gap between image and reality 

The above analysis makes it amply clear that the gap between image 
and reality m regard to leadership is very wide both m experimental 
( Gramdan ) and control villages It seems to be rewarding to examine the 
extent of gap m these cases 

Tabu 22 

The Gap Between the Image and Reality of Leadership in Gramdja Villages 

feature of 

Attributes of the teadersh p 


Ethical Ascriptive Achlerement 
(Scores in Percentages) 


73 37 






59 06 

26 63 



—59 06 

+53 72 



It is evident from Table 22 that the ethical attributes found in leaders 
fall short by 59 per cent while the asenptive attributes go up 
nearly by 54 per cent and the achievement attributes by fixe per cent in 
Gramdan ullages, than the community wanted it to be It is clear that 
the achievement attributes are gaming ground inspite of community 

In control villages the gap between the image and reality is greater 
The ethical attributes fall short nearly by 64 per cent and the achievement 
attributes by six per cent (See Table 23) On the contrary, the asenptive 
attributes go up by nearly 70 per cent than the community wanted it to be 
It may be further noted that considered together the ethical and achieve- 
ment attnbutes which the community look for in the leaders, score less 
than 30 per cent in control villages, whereas in Gramdan villages these 
two types of attnbutes conjointly score over 40 per cent. This clearly 
shows that the existing leadership in Gramdan villages is more m confor- 
mity with the community image as compared w ith that in control villages 

We have noted that the leadership m Gramdan villages score over the 
leadership in control villages m regard to ethical and achievement attn- 
butes This difference may be due to three reasons (i) certain persons 
who are reckoned as ‘leaders’ in Gramdan villages may be new' recruits 
into the power pool and occupy positions which demand ethical attn- 
butes (e g a Shantt Satmk), (ii) the 'leaders* rooted in tradition are grad- 
ually changing their bases to cope with the new situation (e g an illiterate 


Tasu- 23 

The Gap Between the Image and Reality of Leadership in Control Vrfjipri 

Attributes of the leader ship 


Nature of Ethical A scrip tire Achievement 

Attributes (Scores in Percentages) 
















leader getting educated through adult literacy campaign or a person tries 
to establish his veracity and Impartiality in judgements over disputes), 
and (iii) the impact of national and local level Sarvodaya leadership at 
the village level. 

As noted in the previous Chapter the traditional power positions in 
Rural India were those of Jayirdars (landlords). Patch (chiefs), lineage 
headmen, caste headships, village panchayat members, etc. With the intro- 
duction of Community Development Programmes. Cooperative Societies 
and Panchayat Raj institutions newer power positions arc created. 
In Gratndan villages a number of innovations to institutionalise the 
Sarvodaya ideology have been introduced. These innovations have thrown 
up new organizational structures and consequently leadership positions. 
Many of the leadership positions under the earlier set up were hereditary 
and rarely did they demand any technical ability or ideological alle- 
giance from their incumbents. Because of this, power positions remained 
with certain groups and the decision makers were drawn from these groups. 
But the new social situations demanded penons with technical skill and/ 
or with certain minimum commitment to the ideology. For instance, 
the secretary of a village co-operative should have a minimum knowledge 
of writing, accounting, etc. and only a selected few arc recruited as Shanti 
Sainiks or Lok Sevaks or given positions in organisations meant for the 
propagation of Sarvodaya ideology. This resulted not only in the enlarge- 
ment of the power pool in Gratndan villages but also unfolded the possibi- 
lity of the decision makers being a circulating group. The new social situa- 
tion also demanded persons with certain personality attributes different 
from those of the traditional power wieldcrs. This has rendered several 
persons with achievements and intrinsic personal qualities (ethical attri- 
butes), influentials. This is the reason why the leadership in Granular, 
villages has a greater scoring of ethical attributes than that in the control 



The above analysis facilitates the formulation of an interesting hypo- 
thesis if social situations are created in a community which require 
leaders with certain types of attributes, despite the strong rooting of the 
traditional leaders and much against the will of the community, new lea- 
ders will emerge if the traditional leaders do not possess the requisite 
technical skill or personality endowments, that the new situations call 
for Thus if the new recruits to leadership positions will be required to 
ha\e appropriate ideological commitments emphasis on this aspect of 
leadership will be greater However, we do not suggest that all positions 
in the power pool in Gramdan villages require commitment to Sanodaya 
ideology, but certainly some would, and to this extent the possibility for 
the emergence of a new leadership is relatively certain Since the Sanodava 
ideology demand leaders with moral qualities it is not at all surprising 
that the ethical attributes are far more important and actually found in 
the leaders in Gramdan villages and is almost totally absent in control 

It is useful to recall here the qualities that Gandhi insisted should 
be present in an Indian Statesman Gandhi listed courage, endurance, 
fearlessness and above all self-sacrifice as the qualities required of an 
Indian leader He knew that “disastrous results can easily follow a bad, 
hasty or what is worse selfish deed ” 7 For Gandhi, leadership comes only 
through service and he places it at the forefront of all the efforts by the 
leader Describing the essential qualities that an Indian Governor-States- 
man should possess Gandhi insisted that (i) the leader should be a teeto- 
taller and should live in surroundings appropriate to that, (n) he should 
undertake hand spinning everyday as the token of bread labour and or- 
ganized non-violence (m) he must live in a cottage accessible to all and 
(iv) he should not practise untouchability or should belies e in caste, creed 
or colour distinctions 8 

It is obvious that Gandhi wanted a leader to be a person of great moral 
and ethical qualities leading a simple life, rising above all the particularis- 
tic interests yet identifying with the masses The Sanodaya leadership 
at the national level possess these qualities and its reverberations certainly 
rcaoVr nhr urarndm villages' 

We have noted in Chapter I that the attributes of charisma are not 
given for ever, that they are contextual The person endowed with ethical 
qualities and of exemplary behaviour, to recall Weber’s term, is viewed 
as a charismatic by the villagers There is an important reason why ethical 
attributes are highly valued by Indian villagers Corruption occupies a 
great place in contemporary Indian politics and persons in authority are 
inclined to “use” their positions to fulfil traditional obligations and parti- 
cularistic loyalties Indeed, the crisis of corruption is capable of elevating 

thf: nature or i.ocai, leadership i <* 

a person with ethical qualities to the lofty pedestal of reverential lender - 
This is so. for. "There is conviction that all holders of political power- 

great and small alike — are abusing their positions for illegitimate end-. 

There arc no men of ‘public spirit' in public life, no disinterested politi- 
cians of pure motives.’" 5 * The ‘crisis of corruption' provides the contest 
for men of moral qualities to don the mantle of charisma. 

Lest the above assertions be not misunderstood, it should be clearly 
kept in mind that ethical or moral qualities do not exhaust charisma. 

Charisma, as Drekmcir correctly puts it “ is the mysterious quality 

of leadership, the magnetism, heroism or saintliness that inspires a follow- 
ing. It is rooted in that which is extraordinary, which is removed 

from institutional routine . 10 It need not be all these simultaneously,** 

Our finding is that the importance accorded to ethical attributes both 
in ideal and actual leadership in Gramdan villages is more as compared 
with control villages. This is to be viewed as an instance of vertical dis- 
persion of charisma. Dispersion of charisma to the lower levels seems to 
be a necessary condition for the acceptance of a charismatic movement 
by the masses if it operates at the grass root level. 

Concluding observations 

We have started our analysis of leadership of Bhoodan-Gramdan move- 
ment by noting that pure charismatic power exists only in the process 
of origination and while stabilizing itself it either becomes tradiltonalised 
or rationalised or a mixture of the two. The leadership of the movement 
at the national level is predominantly charismatic and do not possess 
any rational-legal authority or derives its power from tradition. However, 
the organisational build up of the movement and the acceptance of tradi- 
tions in several aspects show the trend towards routinization of charisma. 
Since the movement operates at the village level, the nature of leadership 
at the local level is crucial. We have noted that there occurred some dis- 
persion of charisma to the lower levels of the leadership of the movement 
and also to the leadership in Gramdan plages. However, this is no! an 
unmixed blessing. The local leaders of the movement are with different 
backgrounds and arc drawn to the movement with varying motives. 
Obviously they “use" the movement for their peculiar interests and hence 
the goal-attainment of the movement is hampered. Similarly, while the 
leaders in Gramdan villages possess more ethical qualities as compared 
with those from control villages, they are predominantly traditional. In 
fact, we have noted in Chapter VI that there is a great deal of entrench- 
ment of the vested interest forces into organisational positions, in Gramdan 
villages. While these leaders attempt to add to their effectiveness In- 
styling themselves as ‘little charismatic 4 .', essentially they arc change 



retarding elements and are interested in the maintenance of status quo 
Thus, in spite of the charismatic attributes they seem to possess they arc 
system “maintamers” and not change agents In the final analysis, 
chansma not only disrupts social order but also maintains and conserves 
it and the charismatic propensity may be viewed as a function of the 
need for order and stability. 11 


■Surah Ram, Vinoba and Hts Mission, Kashi, AJchil Bharat Sarva Seva Sangh, 1934, 
p 40 

■For an analysis of the nature and types of Sarvodaya leadership. See Geoffrey Oster- 
paard and Melville Cunt 11, The Gentle Anarchists. London Oxford University Press, 

■Max Weber, The Theory of Social end Economic Organisation, London, William 
Hodge and Company, 1947, p 360 

<Manon J Levy (Jr ). Modernisation and the Structure of Societies. Pnnceston, Pnnces- 
ton University Press VoL I, p 26 

■See, W H Morris Jones, India’s Political Idioms, m CH Philips (cd ), Politics 
and Society in Indus, London, George Alien and Unwin, I96J, p 151 

*A L. Basham, “Some Fundamental political ideas or Ancient India", in CH 
Philips (ed ) op cit . p 20 

■Joan, V Bondurani, Conquest of Molence The Gandhlan Philosophy of Conflict, 
Pnnceston, Pnnceston University Press, 1958, p 171 

*D G TenduleVar, Mahatma. Bombay, published by Vuhalbhat K. Jhaven and D G 
Tcndulekar, 1954. Vol VIII, pp 99-100 

®W H Moms Jones, op elt , p 151. 

10 CharIes Drctmeir, Kinship and Community In early Indus. Bombay, Oxford Univer- 
sity Press, 1962, p 295 

11 Ed ward Shils, “Chansma, Order and Status’, American Sociological Rerlew. 
Vol 30 (2), 1965, pp 200 and 203 


Value Orientations: Possibilities of 
A Nonviolent Social Order 

Our discussion in the previous Chapter had indicated that there occurred 
some dispersion of charisma to the lower levels of leadership. However, 
we have noted that there is greater possibility of system conservation 
rather than change with the aid of the dispersed charisma. This being so, 
the movement should have other sources from which change can emanate. 
Acceptance of Sarvodaya ideology (values) by the Gram dan populace is a 
probable source for change initiation. We will examine in this chapter, 
how far the people of Gramdan villages have inculcated the ideology of 
the movement. This is particularly relevant for our purpose, for we have 
suggested that a social movement can hope to succeed only when the col- 
lectivity develops a firm commitment to the ideology of the movement. 

In our attempt to understand the changes in value-orientations we 
need to ask two questions: (i) What changes in the value system, if any, 
had occurred in Gramdan villages? (ii) Arc the Sarvodaya values more 
accepted in Gramdan villages as compared with non-Gramdan villages? 
In order to answer these questions we resort to a comparative analysis of 
the acceptance or otherwise of values in experimental and control villages. 
First, we have to understand how far the Sarvodayaites have succeeded 
in'changing some of the existing values; later we will examine the progress 
registered in the inculcation of new values. Our analysis in this context 
is confined to certain central values. 

The institution of stratification is of central importance in any social 
system. Parsons 1 includes the institution of stratification in his category 
of relational institution which constitutes the structural core of social 
systems and which ties up several institutions into a unified whole. Caste 
system is one of the leading institutions which stratifies the population of 

The traditional Hindu Society was divided into four broad socio- 
economic-spiritual levels called Varnaw The Brahmins were at the top 
of the society whose social function was to look after the spiritual needs 
of the people. The Kshatriyas were to protect the society from external 



aggression and internal disturbances The Vaishyas w ere the socially accept- 
ed producers and distributors of wealth The Shudras were the serving 
castes for the fTrst three Varnas There was a fifth group 'the untouchables’ 
who were outside the Varna scheme and were referred to as Panchamai 
implying, those of the fifth order They were also known as exterior 
castes, depressed classes etc 

Gandhi 2 was one of the most tenacious social reformers who fought 
against the practice of untouchability He observed 

‘We are too near the scene of tragedy to realize that this canker 
of untouchability has travelled far beyond its prescribed limits and 
sapped the very foundation of the whole nation The touch me not 
spirit pervades the whole atmosphere ” “ untouchability is the greatest 
blot on Hinduism” He declared, “So far as 1 am concerned with 
the untouchability question it is one of life and death for Hinduism 
If untouchability lives Hinduism perishes, but if untouchability is 
eradicated from the Hindu heart root and branch, then Hinduism has 
a definite message for the world" 

Notwithstanding Gandhis enthusiastic fight for the removal of un- 
touchability he wanted to re-organize the Indian society based on the 
Varna scheme 2 The simultaneous insistence to do away with untouchabi- 
lity on the one hand and the adherence to Varna scheme on the other are 
mutually inimical Thrs is a point already made by sociologists* and there- 
fore, we will not elaborate on this any more Following Gandhi the Sar- 
\ odaya movement calls for complete touchabihty orientation ( Poorna 
Sparasha Bha\ana) Let us see how far the touchabihty orientation is 
accepted in Gramdan villages and if the practice of untouchability persists, 
why it is so 

It may be noted at the very outset that the fight against untouchabihtj 
in India was started as early as 1865 5 With the arrival of Independence, 
abolition of untouchability became a great humanitarian endeavour 
and legal steps have been taken to punish those who practise it 6 The In- 
dian constitution unequivocally assures equality or opportunity and treat- 
ment to all its citizens irrespective of caste, creed or colour Measures 
have been taken to emancipate the untouchables from social, economic 
and ritual degradation by extending special concessions to them and by 
rendering them capable of effectively competing with other sections of the 
population Academicians were not altogether indifferent to the problem 
of untouchability 7 The point we want to make is that San odayaites 
are certainly not the lone fighters of untouchability and there exists con- 
siderable realisation of the magnitude of the problem and several measures 
are taken to resolve it However, since all these forces operate both in the 

value orientations 


experimental and control villages any extra change in the former ease 
will be attributed to the additional factor present in these villages, 
namely the influence of Sarradaya ideology. 

Our endeavour is to understand whether there is any significant varia- 
tion in the attitude of respondents from Grwmlati and non-Granufan 
villages in regard to the different types of actions, all of which can be called 
as the practice of untouchabilitv and the degree of acceptance 'resis- 
tance that obtains in each of these compartments. In order to measure 
the degree of resistance in regard to the practice of untouchabilitv the 
respondents svere asked six questions. 

The potentiality of a given measure to influence change can be under- 
stood, to a large extent, by knowing the attitude of the people who are 
negatively alTcctcd by the change-initiating step. So the respondents in 
this connection are only clean caste Hindus and tribals. 

Though untouchables live in none of the tribal villages studied they 
arc in constant interaction with each other. The tribe studied are settled 
agriculturists and several caste Hindus arc involved with them in patron- 
client relationships and the Brahmins officiate for the marriages and other 
auspicious occasions. However, none of the clean castes have commcn- 
sality with the tribe. On the other hand, the untouchables do accept food 
and water from the tribe but the latter do not have commcnsality with 
the former. With these considerations in mind, we have treated the tribe 
as a ‘bridge group* between the touchables and untouchables and hence 
their reaction to change is taken into account. Untouchables live in all 
the caste-Hindu villages studied and they arc involved in economic and 
ritual interactions with the clean castes.^ 

The reactions of the respondents to the questions asked arc recorded 
on a four point scale: like, oppose, tolerate, indifferent. In order to measure 
the strength of resistance to each of the items mentioned in the list and 
make a rigorous analysis of the data, the following values are given to 
the suggested response patterns in the scale: like— l oppose-- — ! 
tolerate— -t-0.5, indifferent— 0. This means 100 indicates complete 
change and — 100 total resistance to change. 

One possible objection to this mode of understanding resistance could 
be raised by pointing out that we arc not measuring the resistance to ob- 
served actions, that is actual resistance, but the resistance in terms of 
attitude, that is imaginery resistance. Now, resistance includes behaviour 
which is intended to protect an individual or a group from the effects 
of real or imagined change. “This reaction might be to either real or ima- 
gined change, since the resistcr might be reacting to things that were 
really not changed but he thinks were, or fears that they might be. If a 
person believes, a change has been made, or fears potential change, it 


makes no difference whether or not it is true in fact He will act as 
though there has been a change ” 9 
With this answer to a likely objection to our measurement device let us 
analyse the substantive findings presented in Table 24 

Table 24 

Clean Castes Attitude to Untouchability 

S Action Patterns 


Gramdan Non Gramdan Difference 
villages villages Per 100 

(N*=n2) (N-m) 

(Responses in Percentages) 

1 2 




l Your son marrying an untouch- 
able girl 

—96 80 

—100 00 

—3 20 

2 Untouchables entering the 
temples where you worship 

—70 64 

—74 44 

—3 80 

3 Untouchables drawing water 
from the well you use 

—15 70 

—24 44 

—8 74 

4 An untouchable becoming village 

+37 SO 

+12 64 

+24 86 

5 Special economic concession and 
programmes for untouchables 

+29 36 

+39 89 


6 Untouchables taking to education 



+16 80 

Almost all respondents oppose inter-marriages with “untouchables ” 
The opposition to this step is hundred per cent in control villages whereas 
in experimental villages a few persons have positive attitude towards this 
However, only one respondent said that he “likes" it, while others reported 
that they would only “tolerate” such an event It may be kept in mind that 
not a single instance of inter-caste marriage was noticed, not to speak of 
an untouchable-touchable marriage, in any of the villages studied 

The resistance to untouchables' entering the temples of clean castes 
is fess than that to inter-marriages with them The resistance to this is 5 &3 
per cent less in Gramdan villages Again, in all the caste-Hindu villages 
studied the untouchables are alienated from the activities associated 
with clean caste temples and the former have separate temples and priests 
Even in the tribal villages the untouchables are not accepted to their sacred 
places of worship 

The drawing of water by untouchables from the well used by clean 
castes and the tribe is also resisted, though the opposition in this connec- 
tion is less as compared with the former two items Here again, the resis- 


i r 

tance is (8.74 per cent) less in Gramdan villages. In sis out of the seven 
(three Gramdan and three non-Gramdan villages) under investigation 
untouchables arc not allowed to draw water from the well. However, 
in one Gramdan (Tribal) village 10 the untouchables are permitted to draw 
water from the common well. This practice had considerably influenced 
the attitude of the people in this village to this measure. In fact, all the 
respondents from this village have positive response to this action pattern. 
The significance of a practice in influencing the attitude of people is thus 
squarely brought out. Notwithstanding the variation in this particular 
case, the responses to all the action patterns, which may be described 
as ritually polluting, arc negative. 

The attitude towards an untouchable becoming the village chief is 
positive, though not completely acceptable. The attitude towards this 
is 25 per cent more positive in Gramdan villages. While in none of the 
Gramdan villages an untouchable occupies this position (President or 
Secretary of the Managing Committee of Gram Sabha ) as has been noted 
in Chapter VI, the wide representative body at the village level under 
Gramdan set up permits the incorporation of at least one untouchable 
to the formal power-wielding body. This is not to suggest that such a 
recruitment really makes the person or his group significant in village poli- 
tics. However, the initial acceptance and the formal incorporation of 
the group representative into the decision making body of the village it- 
self is a leap forward. In the absence of statutory power-wielding bodies 
operating exclusively for a single village the possibility of incorporating 
an untouchable to the decision making process is remote under the Pan- 
chayati Raj system prevalent in control villages. The difference between 
these two types of villages in regard to the actual representation of un- 
touchables in the formal power structure partially accounts for the 
variation in attitude in regard to this item. 

Of the several legislative measures undertaken to uplift untouchables, 
special economic concessions and developmental programmes are im- 
portant. Obviously an important latent function of such measures is the 
creation and/or the reinforcement of caste consciousness. In spite of this, 
the general attitude of the people turns out to be favourable to such 
ameliorative measures for untouchables. Surprisingly enough, the resis- 
tance to this measure is 10 per cent more in Gramdan villages. In Gramdan 
villages the number of economic activities introduced are more than those 
in control villages. This rendered the people of Gramdan villages more 
development conscious. There exists intense competition to secure bene- 
fits that arc extended through the developmental programmes in Gramdan 
villages as we have noted in Chapter V. The development consciousness 
thus aroused make the clean castes and tribals to think that the govern- 


ment discriminate against them in extending economic benefits to the 
lower castes However, this feeling is intense among the upper and middle 
castes and less among the intermediate castes which come under the cate- 
gory of ‘backward classes’, and tnbals, both of which receive like conces- 
sions and benefits from the government What is relevant for the moment 
is to remind ourselves once again that the Sanodaya principles of Sam 
Vibltag (equal sharing), voluntary restrictions of wants, or communitarian- 
orientation are far from rooted in Gramdan villages 
Both in the Gramdan and non Gramdan villages untouchables taking 
to education is the most accepted item In Gramdan villages the acceptance 
is nearly 17 per cent more than what it is in control villages However, 
this does not mean that untouchable children in Gramdan villages take to 
education 11 Notwithstanding the negligible advance in this context, the 
attitude towards this measure unfolds great possibilities of influencing 
change m regard to the practice of untouchability 
The following points emerge from the above discussion 

1 There exists considerable difference in the degree of resistance to the 
different action patterns, all of which can be included under the 
practice of untouchability 

2 The response to certain measures are negative and the response to 
certain others are positive 

3. The difference between the experimental and control cases is incon- 
siderable Even so, the difference between these cases is more in re- 
gard to the latter three questions 

It remains our immediate task to explain Why these dlfferences■ , 
A study of the content of the questions asked indicates a major difference 
between those to which response is negative and those to which response 
is positive The negative response is to action patterns which can be des- 
cribed as ‘ritually polluting’ and the positive response is to action patterns 
which can be labelled as ‘secular status-affecting ’ This suggests that 
changes in the secular-status-affecting behaviour can be brought about 
with relative ease as compared with ritually polluting behaviour 

Table 25 

Differences in response to ntuatlv polluting and secular-status affecting 


Action Patterns 



Non Gramdan 







Ritually polluting behaviour 

—61 05 

—66 30 

—5 25 


Secular status-affecting behaviour 

+49 61 

+39 23 

+ 10.38 


The reactions to these two essentially different action patterns are con- 
solidated and presented in Table 25. While the general trend as revealed 
in Table 24 persists, the difference between the experimental and control 
villages is clearer. In regard to the ritually polluting behariour the 
acceptance is only 5 per cent more in Gramdun villages while there 
exists a difference of 10 per cent between the two cases in regard to 
secular-prestigc-afiecting behaviour, the response being more positive in 
the case of Granular, villages. 

It is important to keep in mind at this stage, the bi-dimerisional nature 
of status system of the Hindu caste society. 1 - The concepts of purity 
and pollution are central to the caste system. While temporary pollution 
obtains in all societies (through death, birth, menstruation, etc.), perma- 
nent pollution is exclusive to the Hindus. True, the upper castes too can 
become polluting agents but only temporarily and the defilement can be 
erased off through the prescribed rites and rituals. On the contrary, the 
lower castes or Panchamas, as they are called, are born in pollution and 
die in pollution. So any contact with the untouchables, either temporary 
or continuing, necessarily transmits pollution. Viewed in this vein, we 
can appreciate the significance of ritual status in Hindu caste system. 

While the ritual status was pivotal in the caste system, the secular 
status always competed with it. In fact, political power and economic 
dominance compensated many a time for ritual status. It may be interest- 
ing to nole that the castes belonging to the Kshatriya Varna are not tee- 
totallers and invariably non-vegetarians which is characteristic of the lower 
castes. In spite of this, they have had a superior position in the society. 
This explains the significance of secular status in caste system. Emancipa- 
tion from ritual degradation was never the unlincar source of mobility 
in caste system and attainment of secular status was a source of emancipa- 
tion from ritual degradation and upward mobility.*-' Therefore, it is 
significant to consider the response differentials in regard to these two 
types of action patterns, ritually polluting and secular-prestigc-aficcting 

There always exists a time gap between the change-initiating measures 
introduced to create new norms and their ultimate acceptance. Untoucha* 
bilily is an amorphous phenomenon, as suggested earlier, and resistance 
to change its practice in different contexts differ. Therefore, we suggest 
that the removal of the practice of untouchabilhy should be viewed as a 
process and attempted in a piecemeal manner, initiating changes in the 
change-prone areas. 

The theoretical assumption followed here is that of the system analysis 
the relevant essentials of which needs to be spelled out at this step. Sys- 
lem models indicate that changes may be secured in one element not only 



by a frontal attack upon it but also by a circumspect and indirect mampu 
lation of more distantly removed variables 14 This is possible due to the 
mter-dependence of the system components However, this does not mean 
that all elements in the system are equally strategic or the strategic ele- 
ment in all systems are the same What is significant from the point of 
view of change is to locate this strategic element 

In so far as the system model focuses only on the inter-dependence 
of elements within a system, it provides no instrument to locate the pre- 
ferential points of entry into the system The resources a\ailable for change 
(money, time and personnel) being scarce it is pivotal to seize upon the 
change-prone areas in the system The failure to locate the change-prone 
areas in regard to the phenomenon of untouchability, renders the measures 
taken hitherto, to a large extent, ineffective 

It is obvious from the above analysis that from the point of view of 
effective manipulation of change it is rewarding to start with the change- 
prone areas in the system The assumption followed here is that the 
resistance that different structural components put up differ and it is neces 
sary to take cognisance of the differences in the resistance offered by these 

Generally speaking, behaviour which affects the secular status of the 
respondents is resisted less and accepted more So, it will be yielding enough 
to start with this area rather than initiating change in the areas where 
ritual pollution occurs 

Untouchables taking to education is the most change-prone of the 
activities listed ** In following the line of change through democratic 
methods (persuasion), this seems to be the most suitable area to start 
with Once untouchables are educated, they will grow to realize their 
importance in society and will successfully compete with clean castes 
in achieving status in the secular context Notwithstanding the latent 
functions associated with extending special economic concessions and 
political representations to untouchables, the upper castes accept these 
more than the ritually polluting behaviour Once the lower castes achie\e 
economic and political status, their emancipation from ntual degradation 
will come about with relative ease and speed Viewed in this light, the 
governmental step of constructing separate drinking water wells for un- 
touchables and clean castes (though it is contrary to the principles upheld 
by it) is not ill conceived from the angle of planning change Again, insis- 
tence on temple entry by untouchables may not be meaningful if the social 
situation is not ripe enough for the same Once the ‘take off’ stage of 
change is reached through the increase in secular status the significance 
of ntual status itself will diminish 

Therefore, instead of a frontal attack on the jealously guarded ritual 



aspects in the system an indirect manipulation of an apparently distant 
but admittedly significant secular dimension seems to be more strategic. 
This approach also falls in line with the theory of cumulative causation 
advocated by Mydral.*® However (unlike the theory of cumulative causa- 
tion), we insist that the process of change can be cumulative only if the 
point of entry into the circle is strategic. What makes a point strategic in 
planning change is its vulnerability to change 17 coupled with its ability 
to release waves of repercussions on the entire system components subse- 
quently. It is necessary to note here that the strategic aspect will be 
different in different contexts and we do not attach any eternal in- 
dependence to any single factor. 18 

The burden of the above analysis was to suggest the complexity of 
the problems involved in introducing change in regard to a very sensitive 
area in the Indian social system. While the Sarvodayites argue for 
Pooma Sparsha Bhavana, there is no evidence to suggest that the change 
agents have a clear appreciation of the nature and complexity of the 
problem. Naturally, their attempt in this regard remains haphazard and 
consequently no appreciable changes could be brought about. In spite of 
this the resistance to change in regard to ritually polluting behaviour is 
less and the acceptance of change in the context of sccular-status-aiTcc* 
ting behaviour is more in Grarndan villages. This change in attitude 
between the Grarndan and no n-Gramdan villages may be attributed to the 
influence of Sanodaya ideology. That is to say, the Sarrodaya ideology 
seems to have impinged on the values of the people and influenced their 
attitudes, if not behaviour, to some extent. 

With tin's understanding of the difference in attitudes between Grarndan 
and non -Grarndan villages in regard to untouchabilitv, let us see whether 
this difference obtains in regard to caste system as a whole. In order to 
understand the value-orientation to caste system, three value statements 
are prepared and administered, and the responses indicating agreement 
and disagreement arc recorded on a five point scale. Each of these 
responses arc given appropriate scores: strongly Agrcc=-f-l; Agree — 
-{-0.5; Indifferont=:0; Disagrce= — 0.5, and Strongly Disagrees: — 1. 
This means -{-100 represents total agreement and — 100 represents 
total disagreement. The degree of acceptance or rejection of a parti- 
cular value can thus be discerned from the scores received by it. (The same 
scale and scoring system is employed in the analysis of other value- 
statements presented, subsequently, in this Chapter). 

The value statements administered fall in a continum, from complete 
acceptance of the traditional values to complete rejection of the same. 
The value-statements arc: (1) The caste system should be continued in 
its present form; (2) Caste system should be re-organized on the original 



{Varna) lines, and (3) Caste system should be totally abolished 
Table 26 presents the differences m value-orientation between Gramdan 
and non-Gramdan villages The general line of acceptance/rejection 
is same tn both the categories of villages Thus, there is strong support 

Table 26 

Value orientation to caste system 


Non Gramdan 

S Values 

<7/= 188,1 







1 Caste system should be conti 

+36 44 

+ 61 84 

+25 40 

2 Caste system should be re orga 

ruzed on the Varnabasis 

—1 06 



3 Caste system should be abolished 

—22 87 

—49 03 


for the continuance of caste system followed by an equally strong negative 
attitude for its abolition There is a mildly negative, almost neutral, 
attitude in regard to the re-organisation of caste system on the Varna 
lines which is indicative of the respondents indifference to the type of 
stratification system as conceived by Sanodayites 

Notwithstanding this over-all similarity, in the response pattern in the 
experimental and control cases it is significant to note that (he preference 
for continuance of caste system is 25 per cent less in Gramdan villages and 
the resistance for abolition of caste system is 26 per cent more in non- 
Gramdan villages This evidently points to the fact that the disapproval 
of caste system is more (approximately 25 per cent) in Gramdan villages 
This finding again falls in line with our earlier evidence that the resistance 
to the abolition of untouchability is less m Gramdan villages However, 
we hasten to add that we have not observed any concrete manifestation of 
this attitudinal change in the behaviourial dimension in Gramdan villages 
While the attitude towards continuance of caste system is more un 
favourable in Gramdan villages it is not followed by a concomitant rein- 
forcement of the Sanodaya values (See Table 26) As has been already 
pointed out, Gandhi*? conceived of an ideal social order based on the 
Varna scheme He believed that the arrangement of individuals and 
groups in the social system through the Varna scheme avoids unworthy 
competition, and guarantees each the fruits of his labour But our data 
unfolds that the people in general (both Gramdan and non Gramdan) 
have an indifferent attitude towards the value concerned This may be 


largely the resultant of their realizing the limited possibility of such a 
system being put into operation, partially due to the inherent contradic- 
tion and dilemma involved in its implementation. Therefore, it may he 
surmised that the rejection of the Sanodaya value stems from the r.antrc of 
value advocated. In fact, it has been noticed that some changes in vaiue- 
orienta tions are coming about in Gramdan villages. Paradoxically enough, 
the direction of this change is not in line with the San-pdayu values. 

Since the principles of social structure (stratification) upheld by the 
Sarvodayites are rejected by the people it is interesting to probe into 
their value-orientation in this regard. Three value statements are adminis- 
tered to the respondents to understand this and the findings are presented 
in Table 27. 

The three value statements arc: (i) Status should be determined by 
birth; (ii) Both birth and personal merits should determine status; (iii) 
Only personal achievements should determine status. It is interesting to 
note that there hardly exists any difference in the response to these state- 

Tahli 27 

Values relating to Social Stratification 

S. rallies 

Gramthm S'on-Gf.wulnn 


No. . 



1. Status ascription 

-31. -50 


2. Status ascription-achievement 


- 11.84 

— 3. 0'S 

3. Status achievement 

■ 52.17 


mcnls between Gramdan and non -Gramdan villages. However, in both 
cases the attitude towards status ascription is negative and to status 
achievement is positive and the middle position of ascription-achieve- 
ment is nearly neutral. The loyalty to traditional particularistic values is 
manifested in the respondents’ inability to reject the value of status-as- 
cription in totality and the influence of modern univcrsalistic values is 
manifested in their mild acceptance of status-achievement. The simul- 
taneous preference for both indicates the ambivalent attitude the con- 
temporary Indian has and suggests the stresses and strains produced by 
the transitional situation. However, both in Gramdan and non -Gramdan 
cases the positive scores for status achievements lead over the negative 
scores for status ascription. This is indicative of the direction of change, 
from particularistic ascription to univcrsalistic achievement. 

An important device by which society induces its members to work 
for given positions is by offering appropriate rewards. In a Sarvodaya 



social system equal remuneration is an objective aimed at Gandhi thought 
that all should get same wages irrespective of the nature and type of work 
in which they are engaged 20 Vinoba categorically asserts that the econo 
mic, social and spiritual value of every work is equal and hopes to establish 
Samya Yoga through the institutionalization of absolute equality m 
remuneration 21 It is necessary to understand how far this principle is 
accepted by the people 

The response to the principle ‘equality of rewards,’ is negative while 
the response to the maxim ‘equality of opportunity’ is positive both in 
Gramdan and control villages (See Table 28) There is, however, greater 
disapproval of equality of remuneration and a matching approval of 
equality of opportunity in control villages It is important to note here 
that the response is more in conformity with the norms of the socialistic 
pattern of society rather than those of a Sanodaya Samaj 

Table 28 

Values regarding equality 

S Values 

Gramdan Non Gramdan Difference 





1 Equality of rewards 


-42 27 

—10 36 

2 Equality of opportunity 

+38 56 

+53 86 

+ 15 30 

Attempts to do away with inequality are far too frequent m history 
to be mentioned here It has been conclusively shown that the institution 
of stratification is a functional necessity, 22 and appropriate motivating 
mechanisms are to be used by the society to instill its members with suffi- 
cient inducement to occupy the more attractive positions While the bases 
of stratification change the institution itself persists The attempts to 
create a social system without strata remain utopian than realized even 
in small collective settlements 23 Viewed in the light of the available evi- 
dence, the Sanodaya attempt to create a society in which equal remunera- 
tion is offered to all callings seems to be a hunt for the ghost Unless the 
acquisition and utilisation of skills is given appropriate rewards no so- 
ciety can motivate its individuals to occupy the positions which call for 
more diligence and which require greater responsibility The inadequate 
realisation or overlooking of this principle is a serious lacunae in the Sar- 
\odaya scheme of thinking 

Having noted the inadequate inculcation of the values of Sanodaya 
social structure in Gramdan villages let us examine the position in regard 
to economic values Asteya or non-exploitation is the Summum bonum 



of Sarrotlava economy. This is manifested in the principles of collective 
ownership of property, limited industrialization, the doctrine of trustee- 
ship, the principle of bread labour, etc. 

Aparigraha (non-possession) which is the very negation of property 
is the foundation on which Gandhi sought to build up the society of his 
conception .* 4 He wanted that land and property should be his who work 
it and the necessities of life should be freely available to all as air and 
water . 25 Since the private ownership of wealth produces clash of interests 
Vinoba wants to replace this idea of private ownership with communal 
ownership. He wants to develop an altruistic orientation on the part of 
the individual in regard to property. 2 ** Narayan wants to communnlizc 
property primarily because it is a major source of conflict in society . 27 
Our present concern is only to point out that Sarvodayites strive for the 
creation of a society with communal ownership of land and property. 
The underlying assumption here is that the attachment to property is 
completely conditioned by culture and custom and hence the creation of 
appropriate values and institutional structure is capable of developing 
a communal or collective orientation to property . 25 It is important to 
know whether this assumption is accepted by the people. 

In order to understand the respondent's orientation to the values 
concerning property ownership four value-statements arc administered 
to them. These arc: (i) Acquisitive desire is inherent in man. it cannot 
be changed : (ii) Acquisitive desire is partly inherent and partly conditioned 
by culture; (iii) Acquisitive desire is completely conditioned by culture: 
and (iv) All land belongs to society, it should be treated like air ami water. 
The first three statements constitute a continum of individualistic-collect i- 
vistic value orientation to property. The last statement treats land as a 
special case of property and seeks to understand the respondents' orienta- 
tion to its communalisation. 

T,\m.r. 29 

Value-orientation to Property Ownership 




Gramdan S’on-Gramdan Difference 
<%) (%> <.%) 

1 . 

Acquisitive desire inherent 


: 77.29 

J 0.90 


Acquisitive desire partly in- 

hcrent & partly conditioned by 


•f 11.17 

- 12.56 

- 1.59 


Acquisitive desire completely 

conditioned by culture 


-SO. 67 



All land belongs to society. It 

should be treated like air and 


— 70.4S 

— S5.70 

— 15-27*. 



The similarity in the value orientation to property ownership between 
the Gramdan and non Gramdan villages is obvious from Table 29 
The respondents in both types of villages feel that acquisitive desire 
is inherent in man and they reject the notion that the acquisitive desire 
is the product of culture and custom This orientation unfolds the extreme- 
ly limited possibility of developing communal ownership in property, 
for, if the acquisitive desire is inherent, it can hardly be changed The Sar- 
\ odaya atm of communalisation of property can be realised only if the 
people believe that the attachment to property is the product of the existing 
values and norms 

Communalisation of land is the initial step attempted in Gramdan 
villages The attitude towards even this initial measure is negative, 
although, of course, the attitude is slightly more favourable in Gramdan 
villages and the difference between the two sets of villages in this regard is 
not altogether negligible However, as is evident from Chapter V the land 
ownership in Gramdan villages is far from communal, indeed in essence it is 
individual It may, how ever be pointed out that the change in value m this 
regard may eventually increase and finally may become manifested in the 
behaviour of the people of Gramdan villages 

The realisation of an economy based on Asleya (non-exploitation) 
is possible only if values such as the use of indigenous products (Swadeshi) 
voluntary restriction of wants village self-sufficiency, compulsory bread 
labour etc are institutionalized Let us sec how far these values are accep- 
ted by the people 

Table 30 presents the orientation of the respondents to the leading values 
of San odaya economy Voluntary restriction of wants is the basic princi- 

Table 30 

Orientation to ihc Values of Sanodaya Economy 

S Values 


A on Gramdan Difference 





1 Voluntary restriction of w ants 


+21 02 

+ 1996 

2 Village self sufficiency 

+78 99 

+46 62 

+32 37 

3 Compulsory bread labour 

+63 83 

+59 90 

+3 93 

pie on which the San odaya Samaj is sought to be built The San odaya 
economy is geared to small scale production through selective and limtted 
industrialisation The out put of the economy will be limited and hence 
unless the aspiration levels of the people are kept at the appropriate 
level it will cause unlimited frustration Gandhi argued that material 


comforts does not in any way contribute to moral growth and material 
progress does not bring about human happiness * g Narayan concedes 
the necessity to attend to materia! wants within reasonable limits, but 
there can be no peace in the minds of men. according to him. if the eraser 
for unending wants continues, where individuals and groups try to out- 
do one another in fulfilling their desires. - ;n Paradoxically enough in spite 
of the strong emphasis laid on the voluntary limitation of wants by Sar~ 
vodayites this value is less entrenched in Gramdan villages as compared 
with non~Gramdan villages, the difference being as much as 20 per cent. 

Wc have already referred to the keen competition that obtains in 
Gramthn villages in order to secure the benefits available through the 
developmental programmes (See Chapter V). The number of develop- 
mental schemes introduced in Gramdan villages arc more as compared 
with the control villages. Notwithstanding the limited progress made by 
these developmental schemes the people in Gramiiait villages arc increa- 
singly introduced to newer possibilities which results in the rise in their 
aspiration levels. Naturally, the values such as voluntary restriction of 
wants become less appealing to them. This again suggests the limited 
possibility of the Sanodaya ideology in influencing certain aspects of 
human life and it also uncovers the possibility of stepping up the aspira- 
tion levels of the people once they are exposed to new opportunities 
in spite of contrary ideological influences. 

The basic features of Sanodaya economy are such that it should be 
village-based. Gandhi's Rama Rajya consists of peaceful, happy and 
self-contained village communities, producing for consumption and 
dependent on the outside world only for secondary requirements, 51 
Vinoba goes a step farther and insists that the village should be self- 
sufficient even in defence. 5 - As is evident from Table 30 the villagers, 
generally speaking, approve of the value, village self-sufficiency. It is 
interesting to note that there is a considerable difference {32 per cent) 
between Gramdan and control villages in regard to the acceptance to this 
value, the attitude being more positive in Gramdan villages. Though 
the Indian village was never a self-sufficient unit the villagers take pride 
in establishing the fact that their village is self-sufficient in several respects. 
This value is seized upon by the Sarrodayitcs and this helped its reinforce- 
ment in Gramdan villages. (However, while the people approbate the self- 
sufficiency of the village they arc not hesitant to take to goods produced 
even outside the country as is revealed bv the opinions expressed by them 
in the course of our investigation). 

An important step that Gandhi 55 had adxocated to do away with the 
exploitation of the have-nots hv the haves and to reduce the class differences 
was the undertaking of compulsory bread labour. He did not want that 


a person should be earning his living in this manner, but insisted that every 
one must perform some body labour He suggested bread labour as a 
qualification for franchise One of the objectives of compulsory bread 
labour advocated by Gandhi was to minimize the “evils” of caste system 
itself He went so far as to say that obedience to the law of bread labour 
will bring about a silent revolution in the structure of the society w 

The data presented in Table 30 shows that the respondents approve of 
compulsory bread labour m both types of villages and the difference 
between them in regard to this value is negligible The segment of popula- 
tion which can be labelled as “leisure class” in Indian villages is certainly 
very small in size Almost all respondents do undertake hard bodily labour 
and they readily approve of it as a value 

It is clear that an existing value gets easy acclaim when put-forward in 
a new form Thus one can think in terms of two modes of indoctrination 
of values, new values being put forward through traditional garb and old 
values being put forward as a new principle Hon ever, both of this may be 
dysfunctional in certain contexts 

The Sanodaya economy being village-based and geared to small scale 
production, heavy industrialisation is contrary to its spirit On the one 
hand, Gandhi did not object to the use of machines as such but he insisted 
that it should not boused as a means of exploitation For him non-violence 
and centralized industry are incompatible and argued that mass produc- 
tion degrades the worker, whereas small scale village industry permits 
only limited possibility for exploitation 35 On the other hand, he asserted 
“My own view is that evils are inherent in industrialism and no amount 
of socialisation can eradicate them” 36 and he maintained that machinery 
is meant “ cither to enrich the few at the expense of the many or with- 
out cause to displace the useful labour of many ”37 This lack of consis- 
tency makes it difficult to earmark the status and role of machinery and 
industrialization in Sanodaya economy The Sanodayitcs decry heavy 
industrialization but when they realize that the nature of certain types 
of industries is such that it cannot be run on small scale they are faced 
with a dilemma Similarly, it has been found very difficult to define ‘heavy 
redustry’ and io draw lie line between Jbe ‘.small ’ and ‘heavy’ industry 
The Sanodaya position, therefore, seems to be one oflimited and selective 

The similarity in response with regard to the value-orientation to indus- 
trialization between Gramdan and non Gramdan villages is striking (See 
Table 31) The three statements used are intended to measure the value of 
respondents on a continum scale of use of machines versus abolition 
of machine as bipolar situations The statements are (i) Rapid and heavy 
industrialization is inevitable for the country’s development, (n) Machines 

value orientations 


arc necessary but should be selectively used and scope for handicrafts 
is to be provided for; (iii) Machine makes man a mere cot: and is an instru- 
ment of exploitation; it is undesirable. The la-t of these views is rejected 
by the respondents and the response to heavy industrialisation is positive. 
However, limited industrialization is the most preferred pattern and this 
conforms to the position taken by the Government in India. Though 
this position in certain respects converges with the Sarvodava viewpoint, 
the latter’s emphasis on cottage-industry*- makes the response negative 
rather than positive. 

Tabu: 31 

Value-orientation to Industrialisation 

S. Values 


Gramdan Son-Gramdan Difference 
(%) (%) (%) 

1. Rapid and heavy industrialisa- 

lion inevitable 


r 34.30 

: 1.60 

2. Limited industrialisation 



J 11.27 

3. Induslralisatioin undesirable 



— ’.95 

The Sarvodava end of establishing a non-violent social order is to be 
realised through non-violent means. Gandhi's * 9 emphasis on purity 
of means in fighting for Indian Independence is insisted upon in the re- 
construction of Indian Society too. The Gramdan movement itself is an 
example of such an insistence. The doctrine of trusteeship propounded 
by Gandhi is a concrete manifestation of the great emphasis laid on 
non-violent means. 

Four value statements arc used for ascertaining respondents’ values 
in this context. While two statements arc in the form of principles, the 
remaining two are couched in terms of choices in a concrete situation. 
The statements arc: (i) Means and end should be equally good; (ii) 

Table 32 

Value-orientation to Means-End Schema and Trusteeship 
S. 1 'allies Gramdan Xan-Granklan 




I. Means and end should be equally 

-- 76.33 


■ 40,5" 

2. End justifies the means 



~ 35,0*. 

3. Doctrine of trusteeship 



- 14,88 



One should not steal even if one 1 $ dying of hunger; (m) End justifies the 
means, (iv) If one is dying of hunger, one is justified to steal when other 
means fail As is evident from Table 32 the response to the maxim “end 
justifies the means” is negative and the principle of equal emphasis on 
means and end is accepted 

Notwithstanding the oxer-all similarity in value orientation obtaining 
in Gramdan and control villages in this context there is a substantial 
difference between the two cases The preference to haxe equally good 
means and end is 40 per cent more and the disapproval of the principle 
‘end justifies the means’ is greater by 35 per cent in Gramdan villages 
Hoxvever, there is no evidence to suggest that this favourable disposition 
at the altitudinal lexel is followed by a concomitant change in the be- 
havioural dimension Exeti *t the value-orientation level the response turns 
out to be negatixe xxhen we examine a specific manifestation of the 
principle, for instance the acceptance of the theory of trusteeship 

Gandhian notion of trusteeship has txxo roots lack of faith in the state 
and great faith in the goodness of human nature Gandhi feared the cen- 
tralisation of power in the hands of the state and he believed “ the 
violence of the private ownership is less injurious than the violence of the 
state 40 Even private possession is incompatible with non-violence, but 
is conceded as a concession to human weakness and in order to do axvay 
xvith the tendency to monopolize possessions, trusteeship is prescribed 
as a remedy wherein the trustees are entrusted with the task of community 
welfare 41 Thus the institutionalisation of the doctrine of trusteeship is a 
pre-requisite for the emergence of Sanodaxa social order 

In order to understand the respondents’ acceptance/rejection of the 
theory of trusteeship the following value statements are administered 
(i) Man has only the right to an honourable living from his wealth, whether 
inherited or acquired and the rest belongs to society and must be used 
for the welfare of the community, (u) Man is not the master of xvhat he 
possesses but only a trustee of xvhat in reality belongs to society The res- 
ponse to these statements is presented in Table 32 While the respondents, 
both in the Gramdan and control villages disapproxe of the notion of 
trusteeship the disapproval is less (14 per cent) m the former cases How- 
ever, as pointed out earlier notwithstanding the considerable amount 
of approval shown in the acceptance of the principle of purity of means, 
the response is negatixe even at the attitudinal level when it comes to the 
application of the principle in a specific context This is perhaps indicative 
of the limited possibility of the institutionalisation of Sanodaya values 
The nature of human nature is a fundamental value problem in the 
reconstruction of human society and all major structural changes in society 
lead to or are followed by a reformulation of the theory of human nature 



A definite conception of human nature Sc implicit in the Saruu.'aui 
scheme of thinking and approach to social re-construction. 

For instance, an important assumption on which the doctrine of trustee- 
ship is founded, is that, human nature is essentially good. Gandhi belies cd 
in the essential unity of human nature and its eternal ability to make favour- 
able response to human kindness and love. 4; Vtnoba believes that there 
arc unending possibilities of human perfection, for. all possess sparks of 
divine qualities which help the winning over of the evil by the good. 41 
Narayan is categorical when he writes. "... .Man is essentially good and 
not bad." 44 

In our effort to examine how far this assumption is accepted by the people 
three statements are administered to them: fi) Man is by nature cruel 
and savage. He is inherently bad; (ii) God is active in good men. lie is 
steeping in evil men. God dwells in all men and lienee men arc essentially 
good; (i»i) Man is both savage and divine. He is good and bad. It is clear 
from Table 33 that considerable similarity exists in regard to the concep- 
tion of human nature, between the people of Granulan and control villages. 
The viewpoint that human nature is inherently bad is rejected and there 
is only a mild approval of the SarvoJaya notion, namely, human nature 
is essentially good. The dominant viewpoint is that man is both good and 
bad. This implies that human nature is plastic and can be manipulated 
through social conditioning. This is more in conformity with the sociolo- 
gical conception of human nature according to which the possibilities 
for directed change is tremendous. 

Taiiu 33 

Conceptions regarding Human Nature 

S. Values Granulan Xon-Gtanulrm Difference 

So. <%) r.:> <N! 

1. Inherently bad — SS.K3 — “2,46 —16.37 

2. Essentially good •: 16.70 > S.45 — S.25 

3. Both good and bad 66,49 -54.15 12.34 

Concluding Remarks 

Our examination of the value orientations indicates that the over- 
all situation obtaining in Granulan villages is similar to that of control 
villages. However, there is some amount of change in value-orientations 
in regard to certain aspects in Granulan villages. Bui this change is not al- 
ways in the direction desired by Sanodayites. Tin's throws up a point 
of considerable theoretical interest. It is quite probable that when change* 



are attempted in one direction, the actual changes that come about in 
the system may be in another direction Since these changes are not in the 
intended direction v.c call them latent functional changes** Sanodaya 
movement wants to bring about a society of umversalistic-ascription 
( Varna system) whereas the changes in Gramdan villages are in the direc- 
tion of umversalistic achievement Similarly, while Sanodaya ideology 
is orientated to an economy of frugality wherein aspirations are to be con- 
sciously limited, there is no indication of this being accepted by the people 
in Gramdan villages On the whole, the values of democratic-socialistic 
pattern of society seem to be more acceptable than the values of Sanodaya 
Samaj Importantly enough, the latent functional changes from the view 
point of Sanodaya are functional for the over all changes that are 
conceived and are occurring in Indian Society to day 


'Ta/cctt Parsons, The Social System Illinois The Free Press of Glencoe, 1 951 
PP 51 52 

’For Gandhi s views on untouchability. See D G Tendulekar, Mahatma— Life of 
Mohandas Laramchand Gandhi Bombay 1952, especially Vol 111 pp 222-240,363-64 
and Vol IV, pp 121 122 

’Gandhi was very emphatic in advocating the continuance of the Varna scheme 
He wrote * It (Varnashran a) is an universal law It has nothing to do with superiority 
and inferiority My Varna drama enables me to dine with anybody who wilt give me 
clean food be he Hindu, Muslim Christian Parsi whatever he is My Varnashrama 
accommodates a paraih girl under my roof as my own daughter My Varnashrama 
accommodates panrhama families wiih whom I dine with the greatest pleasure ' 
DG Tendulekar, op at Vol II 1951, pp 374-75 

4 See for instance, T K N Unmthan Gandhi and Free India , Rombay, Vora A. Co , 
1956 pp 235 39 

5 See G S Ghurye Caste Class and Occupation Bombay, Popular Book Depot 
1961, p 23! 

‘Article ] 5 of the Indian Constitution states ‘ The State shall not discriminate against 
any citizen on grounds only of religion race caste, sex, place of birth or any of them 
Further, on the basis of any of these grounds, a citizen cannot be denied access to shops, 
public restaurants or the use of wells tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public 
resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of general 
public It is clear from the above clause that it is an attempt to eradicate the practice 
of untouchability Over and above these. Art 17 deals with the abolition of 
Untouchability and Its practice in any form is made ofTence punishable under the 
law The Untouchability Offences Act came into force in 1955 and is in one sense, an 
expansion of Article 15 of the Constitution which prescribes severe penalties for any 
one acting on the ancient custom of prohibiting the untouchables from the use of 
temples, wells schools, shops, eating houses, theatres, etc It may also be noted that. 

value orientations 


Article 15 allows the State to make special provisions for rise advance;; - ,;.-: of thc 
Scbcdtdcd Castes. 

'The Indian Conference of Social Work held a Seminar on Ceoteism tr-J AY-~ <■<<:? 
of VniauckahUUy in Delhi in 1955 in v.hieh professional social ’.(Offers, sociologists, 
social reform cis. politicians and bureaucrats participated. 

$ The peculiar cultural process in India where poods and ideas arc transmuted with- 
out necessarily followed by any transfusion of blood among the populace insulted in 
this transaction is rendered possible through the Hindu Jajmani s><tcm. The essence 
of this system is the rendering of certain economic and ritual services based on the status 
of the caste to sshich these services arc extended. For a detailed arid simple ana!) sis. 
Sec William Wiser. Hindu Jajmani System, Lucknow. Lucknow Publishing House. 

’Alvin Zander, “Resistance to change— its analyst's and prevention'', in Warren G. 
Bennis etna!, fed.). The Planning of Change. New York. Holt, Rienhart and Winston. 
1961, p. 543. 

>o Hie village concerned is Bhoodanpura, the new settlement. The practice of permit- 
ting tiie lower castes to draw water from the common well is, to large extent, due to 
situational exigencies. When the settlement came into existence there was one Chamar 
(leather worker) household in the village. Since there was only one well in the Milage 
the Chamar was allowed to draw water. The cost for constructing a well being consider- 
able it was not economically feasible to provide for another well for a single household. 
Once the practice started, it continues, though the head of the Chamar household died 
subsequently and the remaining members left Bhoodanpura. 

"Both in Idanpura and in Sukpura (the two castc-Hindu Gramdan villages studied) 
Primary schools were established in 1960. In 1963-64 only 55 per cent of the children 
in Idanpura and 40 per cent of the children in Sukpura, in the 6-1 1 age-group attended 
the primary Schools. In both the village schools not a single untouchable child was study- 
ing in 1963-6-1. 

"Cohen reports the ease of charnars (an untouchable caste) who because of their 
relative economic independence through land holding, successfully challenged the 
Thakurs (the land owning aristocrats). Sec Bemad S. Cohen, "The Changing Status 
of a depressed caste," in McKim Marriott (ed.), Village India. Asia Publishing House. 
Bombay, 1961, pp. 54-69. Gangradc reports how the economic aid extended to the 
scheduled castes by the State agencies had equipped them to be recalcitrant towards 
their erstwhile patrons. ( Jajmnns ) See K.D. Gangrade. ‘Building a village Community 
through Economic Aid, Indian Journal of Social Work, Vo). XXVI. No. 4, Bombay. 
Jan., 1966. pp. 417-28. 

"See H.N.C. Stevenson, “Status Evaluation in the Hindu Caste System." 77;r Journal 
of the Royal Anthropological institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Jan. — Dec., 195-5, 
pp. 45-S5. 

1 AM win W. Gouldncr, "Theoretical Requirements of the applied Social Sciences.” 
in Warren G. Bennis ct at. (ed.), op. cit.. p. 90. 

"According to the 1961 census of India, the population of Scheduled Castes stood 
at 6-1,511,315 and constituted 14.7 per cent of the total population and the Scheduled 
Caste population in Rajasthan constituted 16.67 per cent of the total population in the 
State. Tire educational level of the Scheduled Castes is extremely poor. Thus 90.05 
per cent of them arc illiterate: of the remaining only 0.27 per cent have attained 
education upto Matriculation level and above. In Rajasthan the Scheduled Caste 
enrolment is 4.4 per cent at the primary school stage (upto Vih Vernacular) and ends 
1.5 per cent for higher education as against their share in the total population of 16.7 



per cent This obviously affects their entry into employment market Of the 20 lakhs 
men employed in the Central Government the share of Scheduled Castes is 2.9 lakhs 
which favourably compares with their proportion m the total population But the over- 
whelming majority of these men work as sweepers. For a detailed study of the Scheduled 
Castes’ socio-economic condition see Report of ike Seminar on Employment of Scheduled 
Casta and Scheduled Tribes, Government of India. Planning Commission, New Delhi, 

l&See Gunner Myrdal, An American Dilemma, New York and London, Harper and 
Brothers, 1944, pp 75-78^ 

•^Social Scientists have recognized the importance of locating the change vulnerable 
areas in the system in the contest of planning a change Mukherjee speaks of soft spots 
while Dube refers to change prone areas in the system See Rama Krtshan Mukherjec, 
The Sociologists and Social Change in India today. New Delhi, Prentice-Hall of India 
(Private) Ltd , 1965 and S C Dube, “The Possibilities of Influencing Change" paper 
submitted to International Seminar on Inte r -disaphnary Approach to Social change in 
De\ eloping Countries India International Centre, New Delhi, Nov 30 to Dec,' 10, 

••Lockwood argues that the ‘dominant institutional order of a society is of stratemc 
significance in changing society This core institutional order may differ from society 
to society, viz. Bureaucracy and the instrument or taxation in the patrimonial society, 
party bureaucracy in the totalitarian system etc See David Lockwood, “Structural 
Integration" in Explorations in Social Change, G K ZoILchan and \V Hirsch fed ), 
London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1964, pp 244-257 We suggest that the recogni- 
tion of the relevance of the ‘core aspect* is equally significant at the sub-svstem level 
and hence in planning change 

• ’Gandhi wrote “I believe that every man'is bom in the world with certain natural 
tendencies Every person is bom with certain definite limitations which he cannot over- 
come From a careful observations of those limitations the law of Varna was deduced 
It establishes certain spheres of action for certain people with certain tendencies This 
avoided all unworthy competition Whilst recognizing limitations the law of Varna 
admitted of no distinctions of high and low, on the one hand it guaranteed to each the 
fruits of his labours and on the other it prevented him from pressing upon his neigh- 
bour my conviction is that an ideal social order will only be evolved when the 
implication this law are fully understood and again given effect to ” See Tendulekar, 
op at , Vol IV, 1952, pp 15-16 

20 Gandhi wrote m 1947 “ all the bhang is, doctors, lawyers, teachers, mer 
chants and others, would get the same wages for an honest days work " Quoted in 
Pyarelal Nayyar, Towards New Horizons Ahmedabad, Navajivan Publishing House, 
p 85 

2 'He writes, “We have to build a society in which every calling ts equally paid Every 
calling has an importance of its own That one work should be valued more than another 
is an injustice It may be admitted that the responsibility implied in one work differs 
from that in another But equal wage would have to be paid to all unless and until it 
is established that one with greater responsibility feels more hungry than the one with 
less responsibility It is wrong to pay according to the responsibility involved in a work 
or its extent ” Quoted in Suresh Rambhai, Vmoba and his. Mission Wardha, Akhil 
Bharat Sarva Seva Sangh, 1954, p 193 Vmoba denies the distinction between intellec- 
tual and physical labour “Intellectual work is regarded as superior to physical labour 
and paid more than the latter This distinction between intellectual and physical labour 
is entirely baseless ” Ibid , pp 208-9 


'-Sec Y.B. f3.irr.Ic. Social Di ft refutation c ■•:./ fhtlerenuattnn in £>• ‘V-,—r«, !V 
Dcccan College Institute for Post-graduate Studies. J°55. 

'’See for instance, Lva Rovcnfcld. InuiUtluo-al Chance in the iue.rU Cn'/n'.'rn. 
Columbia, Columbia Uni 1 ,> Press, (952 arid Mclford R Spiro, AHA-,/- .. (‘enr-te 
in Utopia, Massachusetts. Harvard University Press, 1956 

*‘Hc argued “ if «c strive (non-possession) we skill he able to go further in 

realizing a vale of equality on earth than by am other method." Joan V. Bonduraot, 
The Conquest of Violence, Princes ton. Princeston University Prc-.s. p. 1 54. 

'-Gandhi believed that the ideal of equal distribution of property can be jeuh/cd if. 
“Only the means of production of elementary necessities of life remain m the control 
of masses. This should he freely available to all as God's air and water are or ought 
to be; they should not be made a schidc of traffic for the exploitation of others. Their 
monopolization of any country, national or group of persons vsould be unjust." JHd 

-'A’inoba says. “All that we have is for the service of the society and not for serving 
any narrow selfish ends. Indeed, if we would but third: of it deeply, real self-interest 
lies in sacrificing it at the feet of the society." Suresh Rnmbhai, op. oil. 1954, p. 20'T 
As for the ownership in land is concerned it should be entirely free. “There should not 
be only no individual ownership, but also no national ownership over land. We do not 
belong to this or that nanon but to the world. Air. water, light and land arc direct gifts 
of God and must belong to the entire humanity, lin’d. p. 2!0. 

:j Narayan argues that since land is a source of exploitation, feuds, and litigation. 
“If the village community is to become a happy self-governing unit, it has to be persuaded 
to accept the idea that land which the village has should he used by the people, of the 
whole village for their welfare." Jayapral.aslt Narain. Towards a Sew Sacietv, New Delhi. 
Indan Council for Cultural Freedom, 195S, p. 96. 

-sThjs is clear from the following statement of Kara van: “Man is socio-organic, 

partly a product of "Nature" and partly that of society Human nature, apart 

from the instincts of self and race preservation, is most likely of a natural character 
which acquires moral tones in accordance with social conditioning. Javaprakash Na- 
rain. A picture of the Sarvoday a Social Order , Tanjore. Sarvodaya Prnchurafaya, 1961. 
p. 17. 

'°Sce D.G. Tcndttlekar. Vol. I, op. cit., 1951, p. 130. Gandhi was categorical in his 
assertion in regard to the need for voluntary limitation of wants. He -wrote: “1 do no! 
believe that multiplication of wants help in taking the world a single step nearer its 
goal.” Quoted in S.N. Agnrvval, Gandhian Plan. Allahabad, Padma Publications, 1914. 
p. 16. In 1945 he wrote to Pandit Nehru: “The essence of what J have said is that man 
should rest content with what are his real needs and became self-sufficient." Quoted 
in Pyarela! Nayyar. op, cit., p. 4. Gandhi systematically discouraged the multiplication 
of wants for, rhe " ..ideal of creating an unlimited number of wants and satisfaction 
of one’s physical needs, even the intellectual needs of the narrow self, must meet at a 
certain point a dead stop, before it degenerates into physical and intellectual volup- 
tuousness." Tcndulekar, op. cit., Vol. IV, 1952, p. 109. 

-'Qayaprakash Narain. op. cit.. 1958. p. 25. 

Jt“My idea of a village Swaraj is that it is a complete republic independent of its neigh- 
bours for its own vital wants, and yet interdependent for many others in which depen- 
dence is a necessity". Quoted in Pyarela! Nayyar. op. cit.. p. 40. 

.‘Hie says; “1 want that every' village must have its own arrangement of education, 
industries and crafts, land distribution, defence, marketing and every village should 
have a Mor.dal (Council) to decide about the things to be <oU or purchased from With- 
out.** Quoted in Suresh Rnmbhai, Propreu of a Pdcrincrce, W-v.-lhe, Akhtl Hh.irat 



Sam Seva Sangh, 1956, p 11 

>3 For Gandhi s views on bread labour See Joan V Bondurant, op c it . pp 156-170. 

>*Sce, Pyarelal Nayyar, #P cit . p 65 

J‘S« Bondurant, cp dt , p 182. 

^Quoted m Pyarelal Nayyar, op at. p 49 

^’Quoted in Bondurant. op dt p 157 

J* Narayan makes it clear when he writes ' This ts a non-violent revolution tdih main 
emphasis on cottage industries, to be brought about through Bhoodan ' JjyaprafcasJi 
Narayan, op cit 1961, p 24 

J’Gandhi asserted “ means and end are convertible terms and that, therefore, 
where the means arc various and even contradictory the end must be different and even 
contradictory We have always control over the means and never on the end " Tendule- 
kar, \ol HI, 1952, op at p 366 

**IbUl, VoL IV, 1952, pp 14-15 

4 *Gandhi wtoIc, “Those who own money now are asked to behave like the trustees 
holding their riches on behalf of the poor Ibid p 13 “They (landlords) should be- 
come trustees and trusted friends of their tenants. Quoted in Louis Fisher, The Ufe 
of Mahatma Gandhi. London, Harper and Bros , 1950 p 326 
Narayan makes il dear that the Bhoodan movement is based on the theory of trusteeship 

Bhoodan it not a chanty movement behind it is Mahatma Gandhi s theory 

of trusteeship, m other words, the simple yet potent truth man is not the master of what 
he possesses but only a trustee of what in reality belongs to society ” Jayaprakash 
Narain, op dt. 1961, pp 11*12. 

«Gandhi wtoIc, Belief in non violence is based on the assumption that hu- 

man nature In the essence is one and therefore unfailingly responds to the advances 
of love Quoted in Pyarelal Nayyar, op at. p 155 

4 >Vinoba’s viewpoint in this context can be understood from the following uttenngs 
of his “ Samya Yoga holds that therein dwells in everyman the same spirit It, therefore, 
makes no distinction between man and man Quoted in Suresh Rambhal, op dt.. 

1954 p 20S To me there is not one single human being who docs not possess divine 
qualities All arc but temples in which God hides with God s help I can enter 
every heart Quoted in Hallam Tennyson, Saint on March London, Victor Gollancz, 

1955 p 60 "There are good and evil thought in the minds of every one And when a 
good thought enters the mind, it starts a struggle with evil thoughts Ultimately, the 
good thought wins ’ Vmoba Bhavc, Bhoodan lajna Land Gift Mission, Ahemadabad, 
Navjivan Publishing House, 1953, p 9 

44 Jayaprakash Narain, op cit , 1961, p 6 

45 For an undemanding of the concept of latent function. See R K. Merton, Social 
Theory and Social Structure, Illinois, The Free Press of Glencoe, 1957 


Charismatic Movements and Social Change 

We have pul forward the argument in Chapter I. that a social move- 
ment can realise its goal through the firm commitment that the collecti- 
vity develops for the ideology of the movement and then translating these 
into empirical realities through the organization of the movement which 
implements its programmes. We have contended that, if the followers 
of a social movement fail to inculcate a firm commitment to its ideology 
and if the movement fails to develop an adequate organizational base it 
cannot usher in any substantial change. Elaborating upon the characteris- 
tics of charismatic movements, we have suggested that the appeal of its 
leader is uppermost and consequently the role of ideology cannot be pri- 
mary. Since charisma is predominantly non-instilulional in character, 
organizational build up is antithetical to its spirit. Therefore, a charis- 
matic movement cannot be an agent of any sustained change process. 

In order to subject this theoretical notion to an empirical examination 
we have analysed the Bftoodan-Gramdan movement in India, which is 
predominantly a charismatic movement. However, the movement has a 
strong ideological basis and is led by ideologically committed individuals, 
But the ideology of the movement is amorphous in character and attract 
men with divergent backgrounds. The social system visualised by the 
movement is neither traditional nor modern; its acceptance of modern 
or rejection of tradition is not total. The simultaneous emphasis given 
to both tradition and modernity by the movement, attracts both revivalists 
and moderns to its fold. This is not altogether conducive to the goal- 
attainment of the movement. 

Similarly, though the leaders of the movement openly decry bureau- 
cracy and organization, and strive for an organization-free society, the 
emergence of an organizational weapon became inescapable in the process 
of the spread of the movement. This is in consonance with our own predic- 
tion, regarding the life-cycle of a charismatic movement, which we have 
argued will originate with the apprcarance of a charismatic leader, foltowed 
by ideology formation and finally resort to an organizational device to 
implement its ideology. 

In order to realise its objective of evolving self-governing village re- 



publics the Bhoodan- G ramdan movement operates at the grass root level 
In so far as the movement concentrates at the village level organizational 
innovations at the grass-root level and the nature of local leadership is 
crucial for the success of the movement Since no specific “qualifications” 
are prescribed for village level leaders organizational positions are filled by 
persons who are not necessarily committed to the ideology of the move- 
ment Many of these local leaders are frustrated politicians and/or mere 
career-seekers, who are more often than not, representatives of the vested 
interest forces and are not at all enthusiastic to depart from the status-quo 
The filling up of organizational positions such by men is obviously against 
the interests pursued by the movement Thus our contention that the nature 
of local leadership is crucial m the case of a movement which operates 
at the grass-root level is confirmed by our evidence 

We have pointed out in Chapter I that a charismatic movement should 
be essentially non-material to orientation and in so far as it lays emphasis 
on material objectives, it is very unlikely to succeed Though the ultimate 
aim of the Bhoodan-G ramdan movement is to evolve a society wherein 
material gratifications are reduced to the minimum, the immediate aim 
is to establish an economy from which exploitation is eradicated entirely 
and an initial measure in this direction is communalisation of land The 
emphasis given to ameliorative programmes influences the motivations 
of the collectivity in terms of material gratification which is contrary to 
the principle upheld by the movement 

We have noted in Chapter II that an ideal-typical charismatic movement 
should not have any governmental association But the Bhoodan-G ramdan 
movement receives official patronage and blessings This considerably 
influences the participant’s image regarding the movement and also affect 
their motivations in enlisting their cooperation with it The governmental 
association with the movement is instrumental to blur its identification 
in terms of differential ends it upholds as compared with those of the 
government Indeed, this is a serious obstacle in the realisation of the 
goals of the movement 

In Chapter II we have suggested that m order that a movement should 
vusstvi vte fcAkmtsi way be. dsvHVk fcwm fusty WMTrtygt7<vy.E. fcteraps 
The Bhoodan-Gramdan movement calls for the simultaneous participation 
of the haves and have-nots The rich are expected to give in gift their 
wealth and the poor to receive the donations These two groups have 
divergent interests in enlisting their co-operation with the movement 
and this is not conducive to the success of the movement In fact, the 
participation of the haves in the movement facilitates the perpetuation 
of their interests In the final analysis, notwithstanding the fact that the 
Bhoodan-Gramdan movement has change-producing aspects, it also 



possesses change retarding elements. Which of these aspects score over 
the other and why? 

fn its attempt to actualize the goal it upholds a movement needs to 
communicate the appropriate ideas to the relevant audience. In the ease 
of Bhoodan-Gramdan movement, the primary agents of communication 
arc local Sarvodaya workers and the mode of communication is oral. 
Though the ideas arc transmitted in a face-to-facc situation, the span of 
interaction between the people and the agents of communication is too 
little to expect any clear understanding of the ideas upheld by the move- 
ment on the part of the masses. In addition to this the local leaders dis- 
tort and misrepresent the ideas propounded by the charismatic leader 
fVinoba Bhavc) and the objectives of the movement. Because of this in- 
effective and fradulcnt communication only a negligible minority of the 
people in Gramdan villages has understood the meaning of the concept 
of Gramdan. In spite of this they have “accepted" the Gramdan way of 
life. What is the motivating force behind their action? 

The emphasis given to ameliorative programmes by the movement 
coupled with the governmental association gives a material benefit accent 
to the movement. This is concretised in the multitude of material benefits 
promised by the local Sarvodaya leaders of the movement to the Gramdan 
villagers. Thus the chief motivation of the people in donating their villages 
in gift is material gratification. In fact, land which is sought to be comniti- 
nalizcd is an important item on the list of promises. 

Our enquiry’ into the changes attempted by the movement at the econo- 
mic front confirms this finding. The evidence clearly points to the fact 
that the prime objective of the movement namely communalisation of 
land is not seen anywhere in the horizon and there exists a good deal of 
concentration of land in the hands of the few rich households in Gramdan 
villages. No systematic attempt to re-distribute land is made in any of 
the Gramdan villages and the land exchanges whenever attempted arc 
“spurious*’ and conflicts over land occur frequently. No noticeable change 
has come about in the land operations (farming) pattern and the organi- 
zations such as Village Co-operative Societies did not emerge as all-village 
organizations catering to the needs of all. The attempt to initiate 
changes in the economic sector of Gramdan villages through the introduc- 
tion of cottage and village industries too have failed. 

Not only that the intended impact of agrarian reforms is not felt, but 
several unintended consequences too arc noted. Thus, the upper castes 
and the landed are equal beneficiaries of land distribution, whenever 
attempted, as are the lower castes and the landless. In fact. landlessness is 
not the criterion of land distribution and whenever Sarvodaya workers 
got land allotted to Gramdan villagers from neighbouring villages, the 



benefit was grabbed almost entirely by the economically well off persons 
from numerically superior groups in these villages In the event of land 
allotment to the Gramdan villages by the revenue officials, at the instance 
of influential local Sanodaya workers, a number of inter- village land dis- 
putes are generated, which undercuts the basic notion upheld by the move- 
ment namely ‘land for society 1 On the other hand, indiscriminate dis- 
tribution of land is found to be violating the maxim “land for the tiller ’ 
and thus several persons and groups who are engaged in non-agncultural 
occupations having secured land get it cultivated through agricultural 
labourers Incidentally, this also increases the pressure on land and the 
drain on village economy which threaten village self-sufficiency, which 
the movement upholds as an important objective In addition to this, we 
have noted that the intended communal ownership of land prevents the 
possibility of land entering the market thereby insulating the village 
from the outside world and rendering both migration and emigration 
virtually impossible which is mimical to the on-going processes of indus- 
trialisation and urbanisation in the country Finally, and most important!} , 
the presumed collective ownership of land on the one hand and the actual 
concentration of land in a few hands on the other, defeat the purpose 
of progressive legislative measures such as land ceiling, agricultural in- 
come tax, estate duty, etc thereby rendering Gramdan villages pockets of 
vested interest forces Thus, in the final analysis not only that the move- 
ment did not succeed in realising its objective m the area of agrarian re-* 
forms but also is a smgificant stumbling block in the implementation 
of rational policies of land distribution 

Though the initial objective of the movement is communal isation of 
property it also attempts innovations in other segments of village society 
A number of new organisational structures are being introduced into 
Gramdan villages However, with the exception of Gram Sab/ia (village 
assemblies) none of the new organisations registered any progress The 
Gram Sabha is a political organisation constituted by the entire adults 
in the village The express aim of this organisation is to facilitate decentra- 
lisation of decision-making power 

Our evidence suggests that a participating democracy is far from in 
existence in Gramdan villages, that individual-group conflicts abound, 
that smallness of the community is no guarantee for the involvement of 
all adults in the decision-making process, though politicisation leads to 
the participation of an enlarged number Dispersion of power is found to 
be limited as evidenced by the smallness of the power pool and consider- 
able concentration of power is found either with those who occupy orga- 
nisational positions (power-exercisors) or those who matter but operate 
outside the organisational context (power reservoirs) 


Wc have noted a serious dilemma in the Sarvodaya attempt to realize 
participating democracy in a communitarian society. Communitarian 
society demands high altruistic orientation from the individual, for. 
he must be prepared to sacrifice his freedom voluntarily and submit it 
to the benefit of the collectivity. In order to realise the communitarian 
society the individual should be enveloped in the primary group tics (such 
as family, kinship, caste, regional and linguistic ties) so that he may not 
get alienated and atomized. At the same time for the rational participa- 
tion of the individual in the decision-making process in the community, 
he should be capable of visualizing things beyond his interests and for this 
he should be largely independent of intense primary group bonds. Com- 
munity sentiments involve close and longstanding loyalties of locality 
and people but democracy based on such loyalties cannot be enduring. 
Communitarian society calls for consensus and silences the critic but with- 
out widespread criticism and questioning participating democracy will 
be meaningless. Communitarian society makes for solidarity relation- 
ships among men and groups but for widespread participation in demo- 
cracy men must be relatively free to combine and recombine in a flexible 
fashion, and for this the individual should be a free-standing unit. With 
these considerations in mind, wc have suggested that the over-involvement 
of the individual in the group is antithetical to the spirit of democracy. 
It is in the conception of communitarian society which hopes to combine 
primary group relations with rational participation in the polity that we 
discover the dilemma of Sarvodaya politics. 

While the movement failed to make any inroads into the economy and 
polity of Gramdau villages, it is necessary to know the reason for its 
missing the target. What is the nature of leadership at the local level 
and what role it plays? To what extent the ideology of the movement is 
internalised by the collectivity? In answering these questions wc have 
discovered additional causes for the failure of the movement. 

The mode of transmission of ideas opted by Bhoodan-Gramdan move- 
ment is oral and this calls for an army of men interacting in a face-to-face 
situation with the mass-public. Consequently, the type of leadership at 
the local level assumes crucial significance for the success of the move- 
ment. The leadership of the movement at the national level, though charis- 
matic in character, remains in the smoke-screen, as it is. The people have, 
if any thing, vague recollections or nebulous image of Vinoba Bhavc. 
whom they describe as a Saint. Do the leadership at the local level share 
this trait? Our enquiry had unfolded that while some of the local leaders 
are ‘‘little charismatics” and arc highly committed to the ideology of 
the movement, others are frustrated politicians or are career-seekers. 
Several of them “use" the movement for purposes antithetical to the 



interests of the movement Much more, the latent conflict between the 
ideologically committed and the organisationally orientated, render the 
former invariably ineffective as agents of change, as they cannot deliver 
the goods to the people, and this in turn creates schisms in the movement 
In addition to this, the power pool in Gramdan villages is filled by men who 
acquired their positions due to traditional advantages Notwithstanding 
the fact that there occurred some dispersion of charisma to the loner level 
of leadership, the organizational build-up of the movement and the ten- 
dency to legitimize authority in traditional terms tend towards routimza- 
tion of charisma A great deal of entrenchment of vested interest forces 
at the village level leadership is noted This being the situation, the leader- 
ship facilitates the maintenance of status-quo and retards change In fact, 
the continuation of the movement is made possible, to a large extent, 
through the active connivance and acquiescence of the vested interest 

Given the fact that the leadership m Gramdan villages is change inhibi- 
ting, the only way out for the success of the movement is to develop 
a strong commitment to the ideology of the movement by the collectivity 
In our attempt to understand how far the people have internalised the 
values upheld by the movement we have examined the changes in atti- 
tude to some of the prevalent values which the movement disapproves, 
and the degree of acceptance of the values sought to be injected by the 
movement Our enquiry reveals that there is no significant difference to 
the attitude towards the institution or caste and the practice of untouch - 
ability in Gramdan villages as compared with other villages While there 
occurred some changes in value-orientations in Gramdan villages, as 
compared with other villages these changes are not in the direction de- 
sired by the initiators of the movement In fact, these changes are more 
in line with a democratic socialistic and urban-mdustrial pattern of society 
and not in consonance with the values of the Sanodaya Samaj We have 
called these changes as latent functional changes In short, while some 
changes are caused by the movement these are not functional for further- 
ing the goals of the movement In the light of our empirical evidence and 
on the basis of argument we have proposed in the beginning of this study, 
the following general propositions may be advanced 

I An ideal-typical charismatic movement cannot be an agent of any 
sustained change process, as its ideological appeal cannot be upper- 
most and its organizational base necessarily weak 
II In so far as a charismatic movement hopes to bring about changes 
at the grass-root level, the nature of local leadership is crucial in 
determining the success of the movement While there is every 
possibility of vertical dispersion of charisma it is very unlikely 


1 S3 

that the leadership at the local !e\e! will be entirely charismatic. 
This leads to the filling up of organizational positions by vested 
interest forces which annihilate the very purpose of the move- 

III. If a charismatic movement receives support from the rational- 
legal authority, that is the government, there occurs an erosion 
of charisma from the movement. Moreover, the governmental 
association with the movement may lead to a material benefit 
accent in die process of participation by the collectivity. This will 
blur the identity of the movement in terms of its objectives in the 
eyes of the mass-public. In the final analysis, in so far as a charis- 
matic movement gives primacy to the attainment of material 
targets, its sense of “mission" will be less intense and its inability 
to deal with the day-to-day problems will lead to its failure. 

IV. In order that a movement may realize its goals its followers should 
be drawn from fairly homogeneous groups. The ease in which the 
followers arc men with varying backgrounds and motivations each 
of these groups will try to “maintain" the movement and “use" 
it for furthering their specific interests, which will endanger the 
process of goal-attainment by the movement. 

V. A charismatic movement should necessarily go through three 
important phases: the charismatic phase marked by the appearance 
of the charismatic hero, the ideological phase formed through 
the acceptance of ideological elements contained in the utterances 
of the leader and the organizational phase inaugurated by the 
attempts to translate the ideology into the programmes of the 

VI. A charismatic movement need not necessarily be always a system- 
changing force even when it has ample ideological appeal and firm 
organizational base. The ideology', even if it is change-orientated, 
may be manipulated and the organization may be used by the vested 
interest forces for maintaining the status quo and consequently 
the movement may become a tension-management or system-main- 
taining device. 


Abe). T. 14, 15, 17, 24n, 25n 
Adhikari, G. 42n 
Agnrwal, S.N. 175n 
Almond. G.A. 43n 
Apicr, David E. 130n 
Ash, Roberta 14, 24n 

Hanks, J.A. 17, 24n,25n 

Ranks, Olive 24n, 25n 

Barber, Bernard 14, 1 7, 24n 

Basham, A.L. 145, 152n 

Bell, Daniel 36, 43n 

Bcnct, Francisco lOOn 

Ilendix, Rchinard 6, 23n 

Bittner, Egon 34, 43n 

Blunter, Herbert 14, 17, 24n 

Bondurant, Joan V. 152n, 175n, 176n 

Carstairs, M. 126, 130 
Chandcr, Jag Pravesh 129n 
Chauhan, B.R. 101 n 
Cohen, Barnard S. 173n 
Currcli, Melville 152n 

Dantlc, Y.B. 69n, lOln, I75n 
Dantwala, M.L. 43n 
Das is. Jeronte 17, 24n 
De Gram, Sebastain 130n 
Dosv, Thomas E. 6, 24n 
Drekmeir, Charles 151, 152n 
Dube, S.C. 69n, I74n 

Eisenstadt, S.N. 6, 14, 23n, 24n 
Emmet, Dorothy 23n 
Epstein, T.S. 101 n 
Etisioni, Amitai 1 1 . 23n, 24n 

Fischer, Louis 129n, 17fin 
Friedrich. CJ. 3. 23n 
Fricdland, W.H. 10, 24n, 34, 43n 
Fromm, Erich I30n 

164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171. 
172n. 174. 175n, 176n 
Gangradc, K.D. 173n 
George, Henry 43n 
Ghurve, G.S. I72n 
Gittler, J.B. 24n 
Gouldncr, A! win W, 173n 
Green, Arnold 24n 

Hcberle, R. 24n 
HolTman, Daniel P. 42n, 43n 

Jones, Morris 130n, 152n 

Kahin, G.Mc.T. 7, 24n 
King, Clarence 130n 
King, Wendell 14. 24n 
Kornhauscr, W. 130n 

Lane, R.E. 127. 128, Bln 
Levy, Marion J. 25n, 144, 152n 
Linton, Ralph 14, 15, 17, 24n 
Lockwood, David 174n 

Matossian, M 36, 43n 
Mead, Margaret lOln 
Merton, R.K. 69n, 176n 
Misra, B.B. 100n 
Mukherjee, Ramkrishna 174n 
Myrdal, Gunnar 161, 374n 

Narayan, J.P. 106, 107, 108. 129n. 165, 
167, 171, 175n, 176n 

Nayyar, Pyarclal 129n, I74n, I75n, l76n 

Oommen, T.K. 23n, 42n, 55n, 130n 
Ostergaard, Geoffrey 152n 
Overstreet, D. 42n 

Parsons, T. 17, 2 5n, 34, 43n, 153, I72n 
Paukcr, Guy J. 24n 
Pyc. Lucin W. 24n, 1 30a 

Gandhi, M.K. 106, 107, 110, 150, 154, 

Ratnani, KJ. 7, 24n 


Rambhai, Suresh 42a, 43n, I29n, non, 
174n, 175n, I76n 
Ram, Suresh 42n, 43n 152n 
Rosenfeld, Eva I75n 
Ross, Aileen D 126, 130n 

Sachidanand 69n 
SchelsmEer, Arthur 4, 23o 
Schumpeter, A 129n 
Shah, Barnard 43n 
SheJthar, M C 42b 
Shils, Edward 4, 6, 2Jn, 24n, 43n, 126 , 
I31n, 152a 

Simmcl, George 129n 
Smelser, Neil J 14, 18, 24n, 25n 
Spiro, Melford, E. 175o 
Stevenson, H N C. I73n 
Stevens, H H 42n 
Sutton, Francis X 28, 25a 

Tendulekar, D G 42n, 129n, 152n, I72n 
174n, 17Sn, !76n 

Tennyson, Hallam 42n, 44n, 130f), l76n 
Thomas, W L. 23n 

Thoraer, Oanmel 43n, lOOn 
Thomer, Alice 43n 
Toynbee, Arnold 24n 
Tuma, Elias H JOOn 

Unmthan, TK.N I72n 

Vasto, Lanza Dal 42n 
Verba, S 43n, 130n 
Vmoba, Bhave 69n, 106, 107, 110, 136, 
164, 165, 167, 171, 175n, 176n 

Wallace, AFC 14, 17. 24n 
Weber, Max 2, 4, 5, 6, 18, 23a, 25a, 150. 

Windmiller, M 42n 
Wiser, William 173n 
Wolpe, Herald 1,2,8, 23n, 24n 

Ywger. Milton 42n 

Zald, Mayer N 14, 24n 
Zander, Alvin 173n 
Zimmerman, Carl C 18 25n